Overcoming the Burdensome Nazi Legacy in Germany’s Cultural Sphere (on the Example of the German Art Institutions)

  • Post Category:Issue XX

Viktoriia Soloshenko
Ph.D. in History, Deputy Director for Research at the Institute of World History of the NAS of Ukraine

DOI https://doi.org/10.37837/2707-7683-2019-47

Abstract. The article examines the problem of overcoming the burdensome historical legacy of Nazism in the Federal Republic of Germany. Particular attention is attached to the mitigation of the impact of National Socialism on the cultural sphere. An important aspect of studying Nazi history is the analysis of the Weinmüller case, previously unknown archival documents that shed light on the dark pages of German history.
The article discusses the place and role of the ‘Adolf Weinmüller’ art institution in Nazi art trade. It has been revealed that this famous art auction house laid the foundations for the development of modern art in Munich and paved the way for the “Neumeister” auction house. The author emphasizes that the provision of access to the private archives of the “Neumeister” auction house, which is the successor of ‘Adolf Weinmüller,’ was a breakthrough in solving national socialists’ crimes and an important step in overcoming the consequences of totalitarianism in Germany. By opening access to the archives of the auction house, Katrin Stoll, the owner of “Neumeister”, encouraged scholars tо conduct a detailed study. It is important to note that no other auction house in Germany has ever dared to take such bold steps. In such a way, the scientific basis was laid for a number of projects aimed at finding and declassifying archival documents.
The author emphasizes that Germany’s experience in dealing with such an important problem as overcoming the burdensome historical legacy of Nazism through identification and restitution of property and cultural values looted by the Nazis, is invaluable. In recent decades, the process of addressing this range of problems has been put on a solid governmental footing.
Keywords: Germany, auction houses “Adolf Weinmüller”, “Neumeister”, cultural values, collections, trafficking, alienation, National Socialism.

Download Article (ukr)

1. Datenbank Kunst-und Kulturgutauktionen 1933–1945. Adolf Weinmüller Münchener Kunstversteigerungshaus. Adolf Weinmüller Wiener Kunstversteigerungshaus [online]. Available at: http://www.lostart.de/ Webs/DE/Provenienz/Weinmueller/Auktion Nav.html?cms_param=AHAUS_ID%3D616100381%26node%3Dexpand [in German]
2. Neumeister Münchener Kunstauktionshaus GmbH & Co [online]. Available at: https://www. neumeister.com/ [in German]
3. Herchenröder, C. (1972). Die Kunstmärkte, no. 4. München: Econ Verlag. [in German]
4. Watson, P. (1992). From Monet to Manhattan: The Rise of the Modern Art Market. London: Hutchinson. [in German]
5. Thurns, H. (1994). Der Kunsthändler – die Wandlungen eines Berufes. Munich: Hirmer Verlag. [in German]
6. Eichwede, W., Zubkova, E. (2014). Zur Anatomie des Kunstraubs: Die Kunst als Opfer deutscher und sowjetischer Politik im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Arsprototo: Das Magazin der Kulturstiftung der Länder, no. 4, pp. 25-29.
7. Kennedy Grimsted, P. (2013). Art and Icons Lost in East Prussia The Fate of German Seizures from Kyiv Museums. Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 47-91. [in German]
8. Dehnel, R. (2006). Die Täter, die Opfer und die Kunst: Rückblick auf den nationalsozialistischen Raubzug. Osteuropa Kunst im Konflikt. Kriegsfolgen und Kooperation in Europa, no. 1, pp. 15-17. [in German]
9. Cieslinska Lobkowicz, N. (2006). Gründe, Abgründe, Ansprüche Restitutionspolitik in Polen. Die Täter, die Opfer und die Kunst. Osteuropa Kunst im Konflikt. Kriegsfolgen und Kooperation in Europa, no. 1-2, pp. 263-287. [in German]
10. Hopp, M. (2012). Kunsthandel im nationalsozialismus: Adolf Weinmüller in München und Wien. Köln: Böhlau Verlag. [in German]
11. Heuss A. (2000). Kunst-und Kulturgutraub: Eine vergleichende Studie zu Besatzungspolitik der Nationsalsozialisten in Frankreich und der Sowjetunion. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter. [in German]
12. Ruppert, W., Fuhrmeister, С. (2007). Zwischen Deutscher Kunst und internationaler Modernität. Formen der Künstlerausbildung 1918–1968. Bonn: Druckhaus ‘Thomas Müntzer’, BT Weimar, VG Bild-Kunst. [in German]
13. Washington Conference Principles on Nazi Confiscated Art. Diplomacy in Action, U.S. Department of State [online]. Available at: http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rt/hlcst/122038.htm [in English]
14. Degenerativnoye iskusstvo [online]. Available at: http://artwwworld.org. ua/ArtProm/Degenerativnoe_iskusstvo/ [in Russian]
15. Krupneishiye auktsiony Yevropy: gde i kogda?, Self made Trip [online]. Available at: https:// selfmadetrip.com/krupneyshie-auktsionyi-evropi-gde-i-kogda/30.10.2016. [in Russian]
16. Katrin Stoll Auktionshaus veröffentlicht Datensätze aus NS-Zeit [online]. Available at: http:// www.deutschlandfunk.de/raubkunst-auktionshaus-veroeffentlicht-datensaetze-aus-ns.691.de.html?dram:article_id=287740; Schmitz C. Kellerfund von Auktionsprotokollen der NS-Zeit [online]. Available at: http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/kellerfund-von-auktionsprotokollen-der-ns-zeit.691.de. html?dram:article_id=243416 [in German]
17. Entartete Kunst [online]. Available at: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/ articles/e/entartete-kunst/;
Nazi plunder [online]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Nazi_plunder; Why finding Nazi-looted art is a question of justice [online]. Available at: http://www.pbs.org/ newshour/updates/why-finding-nazi-looted-art-is-a-question-of-justice/ [in German]