The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Museums in Bavaria return looted art

In the southern German state of Bavaria, the State Painting Collections and the National Museum have returned Nazi-looted art to its rightful owners.

A painting by Hans Wertinger and two Nuremberg sculptures from the 16th century went to the heirs of the Berlin banker and entrepreneur Jakob Goldschmidt (1882 - 1955), as the Pinakotheken and the National Museum in Munich announced on Wednesday.

The painting was reportedly transferred to the State Painting Collections in 1953 from the former National Socialist art collection. The sculptures had been acquired by the National Museum in the same year in exchange for a 14th century Pietà from a Swiss arms manufacturer.

The Jewish banker Goldschmidt, who was considered the "center of the financial world" in the Weimar Republic according to the State Painting Collections, had collected art on a large scale since the First World War and furnished his country house in Potsdam and his city villa in Berlin with it.

After the National Socialists made him partly responsible for the banking crisis caused by the global economic crisis, Goldschmidt was forced to emigrate to Switzerland in April 1933 and fled to New York in 1936. He was only able to save parts of his art collection abroad. The rest of the collection remained in Germany, where it was sold at two auctions in 1936 and 1938.

The painting by Hans Wertinger that has now been returned went to Julius Streicher, Gauleiter for Middle Franconia. US forces found it - along with other works of art - in the house of Streicher's brother Max in Deggendorf and brought it to the Central Collecting Point in Munich in October 1946. The sculptures had ended up with the Swiss manufacturer after several stops.


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