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Information bulletin
No. 132 (April 6, 1948)

Cultural goods restituted,   p. 7 PDF (669.1 KB)


Page 7

Cultural Goof
Several  important  cultural  re-
stitution shipments were made during
the last quarter of 1947, the most not-
able being 95 items of furniture and
paintings, including Andrea del Sarto's
"Mary and Child" and Rembrandt's
"Head of Christ," which went back to
the Netherlands in October. The first
shipment of cultural material restitut-
able to Yugoslavia was also effected
during October.
During the last quarter the Soviet
Union recovered paintings, about 7,000
natural history specimens, and the
famous 17th-century bronze Neptune
Fountain, while smaller shipments
went to Belgium, Greece (antique
vases), Italy (a 19th-century statue of
an angel which an SS general took
from the Benedictine Abbey at Monte
Cassino for a present to Hitler), and
Luxembourg (meteorological material).
France received 150 items, including
flags, armor, and guns of historical
value. Flags, a death mask and tomb
cross of the murdered Chancellor Doll-
fuss went to Austria.
Large shipments of library and
archival material were also made dur-
ing the last three months of 1947 to
Austria, Belgium, France and the So-
viet Union; the largest single ship-
ment, comprising almost 43,000 books
and 300 parcels of archival material,
went to Austria.
The shortage of transportation and
lack of facilities in which to house
valuable material continued to hamper
the program for the return of legiti-
mate holdings to German owners.
For example, the turnover to the
Wiesbaden Landes Museum of about
250,000 items from its painting, anti-
quity, and natural history collections,
which had been held in the Wies-
baden Collecting Point, was accom-
plished, on paper, in December, the
Collecting Point retaining only the art
reference library and certain furniture
and display cases. The Landes Museum
staff can now carry out a long-planned
reorganization of the collections, but
the museum cannot be reopened to the
public because its building is still
requisitioned by the Collecting Point.
The collections of the Staedel In-
stitute and the City Gallery of Frank-
Is RestitutedI
furt, for instance, have been entirely
reassembled, except for the sculpture,
which is being kept at the Wiesbaden
Collecting Points for protection dur-
ing October.
A notable event in the field of
art intelligence during the last quarter
was the recovery of 48 paintings
which had been stolen from a re-
pository at Wiessee, Bavaria. The
thieves, who were disguised as Mili-
tary Government officials and mem-
bers of an accredited military mission,
were arrested and sent to Munich for
trial, and the paintings were sent to
the Munich Collecting Point.
During the last quarter of 1947,
more than 1,600 items of cultural
value known or suspected to have
been removed from former German-
occupied. territories were confiscated
from their holders in Bavaria and
taken to the Munich Collecting Point
for screening.
Some 255 of these objects were
obtained through German declarations
of property acquired in former Ger-
man-occupied countries. Others, not-
ably four   important  15th-century
wooden sculptures, had been looted
from the Goering train at Berchtes-
gaden in May, 1945, and were recover-
ed after an intensive investigation by
MG art experts.
An extremely valuable collection of
incunabula and first editions from the
former Nazi library "Fuer das Neue
Deutschland" (For the New Germany)
in the Bavarian village of Oberhaus
was transferred in the fall to the
Offenbach (Hesse) Archival Depot. The
processing of this material was greatly
simplified by the discovery of a cata-
log listing the owners from whom
about 60 percent of the material was
confiscated.
The German program for the re.
construction of war-damaged cultural
monuments was slowed down during
the last quarter of 1P47 by th-e onset
of bad weather and the diversion of
labor and materials to the preparation
of housing and office spafce for bi-
partite and bizonal agencies at Frank-
furt. Nevertheless several museums
were reopened and a number of
important exhibitions were held.
Outstanding were the reopening
of the Staedel Institute and the
showing of almost 200 designs sub-
mitted in the competition for the
redesigning of the Ansbach building
in  Ruedesheim, Heisse, Germany's
first major architectural competition
during the occupation period for an
individual project, both of which
took place in   October; and  the
exhibition of the bulk of the great
Kassel collection of Frans Hals, Rem-
brandt, and Rubens, which was placed
on public view in November for the
first time since 1939.
Th~e German National Museum at
Nuremberg, which contains some of
the best pieces of German medieval
and renaissance art, including works
by Duerer, Holbein, and Veit Stoss,
as well as a world-famous toy col-
lection, was formally reopened in
December.
In   accordiance  with  Military
Government's policy of transferring
responsibility to German officials, the
responsibility for reporting on the
holdings and sales of licensed art
dealers was turned over to the
appropriate German agencies during
the la-st quarter of 1947. - Military
Governor's Report No. 30.
Work Experiment Planned
Clearance from the German author-
ities in Munich has been obtained
for a work project for next summer,
to be called "Experiment in Inter-
national Living." Ten young Ameri-
can students or young faculty mem-
bers will spend two months with a
similar group of young Germans.
The work project will be selected by
the organization of the University of
Munich, which manages the recon-
struction program for the university.
Codeine Shortage Reported
No shortages of narcotic drugs for
medical needs were reported except
in the case of codeine, the supply of
which is reported short in Bavaria
and Bremen state. Leading manufact-
urers of codeine in 1947 increased
production, so that the reported
shortages appear to be due to distri-
bution difficulties. Measures have
been taken to remedy this situation.
APRIL 6, 1948
INFORMATION BULLETIN
7


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