Shortly after the November pogrom in 1938, the Gestapo seized roughly 2200 cultural assets in Munich and its surroundings from approximately 70 Jewish households. Thus, they introduced one of the greatest government art thefts in an area known as the “Altreichsgebiet” (Old Reich Region). Art experts, art dealers and museum directors were involved (Bavarian State Painting Collections, Bavarian National Museum, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich Stadtmuseum), as well as state and municipal institutions and organizations of the NSDAP. The confiscated art objects were sent to the most diverse locations; this spectrum ranged from galleries and museums, to Munich’s Oberfinanzpräsidium (main finance headquarters) and the Gauleitung München-Oberbayern (regional administration of Munich-Upper Bavaria), to the NSDAP party office in Munich.
This book is the first to document how such a series of events came about, what motives and interests stood behind the art theft, who profited from it, and how the participants and the persons affected spoke about it – or kept silent – after the end of the war.