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Spotlight on the Object

PERSON, PLACE or THING

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Welcome to the Provenance Researchers of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation!
Every object has its own history, which begins long before it arrives in a library or museum, often along a winding path. Previous owners, changes of location and different collection contexts can leave many traces - not least on the objects themselves. But often the events worth telling about a provenance receive little attention and are forgotten over the years.

The task and goal of provenance research at museums, libraries and archives is to bring these past, hidden and sometimes deliberately concealed stages in the biography of books, works of art and everyday objects, their history and stories back to light and to make visible not only the things themselves but also the places and people associated with them. Layer by layer, the provenance researchers work their way through the ages, moving along main and side paths, landing at dead ends and discovering many exciting, sometimes cruel and often touching episodes.

The cosmos of objects gathered under the umbrella of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, and thus, the diversity of the stories interwoven with them is unique worldwide.
With this virtual exhibition, we invite you to discover with us the paths and fates of the objects, to illuminate the people and places intertwined with them, and to look over our shoulders as we interpret often inconspicuous traces.

Join the Berlin provenance researchers at the Staatliche Museen and the Staatsbibliothek in their work!



01

PERSON



Letter from Douwe Remmerssen to Paul Ortwin Rave

March 31, 1939

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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Zentralarchiv

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© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Zentralarchiv

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Who was Douwe Remmersen?

In 1939, the Nationalgalerie acquired a drawing by Jakob Philipp Hackert for the "Sammlung der Zeichnungen" (Collection of Drawings). Its seller was a lawyer from Riga named Douwe Remmerssen – a man who, as a Nazi functionary and persecuted person, knew two sides of fascist despotism.



Landschaft mit Felsgrotte (Das Ohr des Dionysos) bei Syrakus
(Landscape with Rock Grotto (The Ear of Dionysus) near Syracuse)

Jakob Philipp Hackert, 1777

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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Kupferstichkabinett

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© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Kupferstichkabinett / Photo: Reinhard Saczewski.

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Abb. 1 Hackert Felsgrotte F III 2743.jpg
Jakob Philipp Hackert, Landscape with Rock Grotto, 1777


A Drawing from the Baltic States for Berlin
 
In early 1939, Paul Ortwin Rave, the director of the Nationalgalerie Berlin, received a visit from a gentleman from Riga. He introduced himself as Douwe Remmerssen and offered to sell him a drawing by Jakob Philipp Hackert, a painter of German classicism. He had acquired it from "gräflich Manteuffelschem Besitz" in Estonia. Rave wanted the drawing, although this meant for him having to overcome some bureaucratic hurdles at customs. This is how the Landscape with Rock Grotto (The Ear of Dionysus) near Syracuse ended up in the "Sammlung der Zeichnungen," which at the time belonged to the Nationalgalerie.



Paul Ortwin Rave

June 1949

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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Zentralarchiv, Fotosammlung.

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© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Zentralarchiv

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Abb. 2 Rave Paul Ortwin_SMB-ZA.jpg
Paul Ortwin Rave, 1949


The "Sammlung der Zeichnungen" under Paul Ortwin Rave

Paul Ortwin Rave had been director of the Nationalgalerie since 1937. Thus, the "Sammlung der Zeichnungen" was also under his care. This collection of oil sketches, watercolors and drawings from the predominantly 19th and early 20th centuries was established as a separate department of the Nationalgalerie in 1878 due to a transfer from the former Königliches Kupferstichkabinett. Only in 1992 did this collection rejoin the Kupferstichkabinett. During the Nazi era, around 1,300 works were acquired for the "Sammlung der Zeichnungen".



Steinbrücke im Schweizer Hochgebirge (Stone Bridge in Swiss High Mountains)

Jakob Philipp Hackert, 1778

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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett

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© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett

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Abb. 7 Hackert Steinbrücke F III 2804.jpg
Jakob Philipp Hackert, Stone Bridge in the Swiss High Mountains, 1778

A second Offer
 
A few weeks after acquiring the Landscape with Rock Grotto, Remmerssen wrote Rave a letter from his hometown of Riga; he had another Hackert sheet that he could offer him. Although Rave found this drawing even better than the first, he regretfully declined. Customs clearance had been a bit too complicated for him the last time. At the end of the year, however, Rave was able to have the Stone Bridge in the Swiss High Mountains entered in the inventory book as a new acquisition. Remmerssen had moved to Berlin with the drawing. His address was now: "Berlin, Foreign Office".





Passport photo Douwe Remmerssen

around 1939

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Political Archive of the Federal Office of Foreign Affairs, Berlin

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© Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts, Berlin/ Photo: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

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Kurzbeschreibung
Personal file Douwe Remmerssen
Abb. 6 Douwe Remmerssen_PA-AA.jpg
Douwe Remmerssen, around 1939

Douwe Remmerssen
 
Remmerssen was born in Moscow on October 27, 1904. His German-Baltic parents had him baptized as a Protestant. As a teenager he moved with them to Riga. After studying law at various European universities, he opened his own law office in Riga. In 1939 he toyed with the idea of moving to Germany. He travelled to Berlin several times – one of these stops took him to Rave's museum office – to sound out the situation. He finally decided in November 1939 to pack his bags and move to the German capital.





Berlin, Foreign Office

around 1935, Berlin

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Bundesarchiv

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Bundesarchiv Fotograf: o.Ang.

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Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1983-028-08,_Berlin,_Auswärtiges_Amt_crop.jpg
Berlin, Foreign Office 1935


Career under National Socialism
 
As a "Baltic repatriate", Remmerssen quickly and easily obtained German citizenship. He immediately applied for admission to the NSDAP. As a Baltic lawyer, he was not allowed to establish his own law firm. He would have been allowed to become a judge with retraining, but found a better-paid job as an interpreter at the Foreign Office because of his impressive knowledge of foreign languages.
Always a cosmopolitan, Remmerssen made many business trips on behalf of the Foreign Office starting in 1940. First he accompanied a delegation of the Reichspostministerium to Moscow. From September 1940 to January 1941, he was back in his old home town of Riga as a translator for a German-Soviet government delegation. In 1941 he was appointed to the "Sonderkommando Künsberg" - a brigade that carried out raids in the Eastern territories on behalf of the Reich. In 1943, he took over the leadership of the interpreter department of the Waffen-SS and in 1944 worked at the "Hauptamt Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle" in the German consulate in Marseille.



View over the moat and the electric fence to the barracks of Dachau concentration camp

Date of recording: April 29/30, 1945, Dachau Bavaria

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bpk Bildagentur

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©bpk-Bildagentur

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Dachau_BPK.JPG
Dachau concentration camp after liberation by the 7th U.S. Army


The Turnaround

Remmerssen's life took a drastic turn in the summer of 1944. He was denounced for "homosexual activity" and "statements subversive to military morale". He was immediately dismissed from the party. The Gestapo arrested him in Marseille, took him to Paris and sentenced him to ten years in prison. He served his sentence in the SS penal camp Dachau.
  
In the Spruchkammer proceedings for the "denazification" of Germany, he was classified as a "blind follower". He was ordered to pay an "expiatory sum" of 300 marks into a reparation fund. He appealed against this verdict with reference to his imprisonment in Dachau. The proceedings were reopened and discontinued in 1951.

The artworks were examined in the project "Die Erwerbungen der ‚Sammlung der Zeichnungen‘ (ehem. Nationalgalerie) im Zeitraum 1933 bis 1945“  (The Acquisitions of the 'Collection of Drawings' (formerly part of the Nationalgalerie) in the Period 1933 to 1945) by Hanna Strzoda at the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

The acquisition of these two Hackert drawings initially raised a lot of questions: Why did Remmerssen move to Berlin and what was he doing at the Foreign Office? Wasn't this office also involved in the National Socialist art theft, and was Remmerssen acting in accordance with his commission in this sale? In the end, research invalidated this concern. Remmerssen moved to Berlin voluntarily as a German-Baltic, long before the German occupation of Latvia. It was only some time after the sale of the drawings that he became a well-paid employee of German authorities, a participant in the Nazi art theft, and a few years later a persecuted person himself. Thus, in 1939, it was hardly out of existential need that he parted with the works of art that he himself had acquired from old Estonian aristocratic property.





Pierre Merrick - descendant of the American ethnologist Francis La Flesche close

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SMB, Ethnologisches Museum

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© Christoph Mack

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Francis la Flesche

In 1894, the Königliches Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin commissioned the Indigenous ethnologist Francis La Flesche to assemble a collection that best represented his own culture, that of the North American Umóⁿhoⁿ.
Four years later, La Flesche sent 60 objects to Berlin. Along with extensive documentation in the form of a catalog.



Francis La Flesche

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National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

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©National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

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Kurzbeschreibung
Photo Lot 24 SPC Plains Omaha BAE 4558 La Flesche & Family 00688500, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
La flesche.jpg
Francis La Flesche - scientist and political activist, undated portrait
Francis La Flesche - A Life between two Worlds

Francis La Flesche (1857–1932) is today considered North America's first Indigenous ethnologist. Raised on the Omaha Reservation, La Flesche attended Presbyterian boarding school, following his father's wishes. After successfully completing his law degree in Washington, D. C., Francis La Flesche assisted Ponca Chief Standing Bear in his fight for recognition of civil rights for all Native Americans in the United States. This experience shaped his later work as a scholar and political activist. In the 1880s, Francis La Flesche met ethnologist Alice Fletcher, who encouraged him to study Ethnology. Together they wrote the book "The Omaha Tribe," which is still considered a standard ethnological work on the Umóⁿhoⁿ.





Catalog by Francis La Flesche.

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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Ethnologisches Museum

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© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ethnologisches Museum

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Francis La Flesche is not without controversy to this day. Through his role as an ethnologist and community insider, he had access to many culturally sensitive areas and data that he made available to science and museums. Did he do the right thing by keeping the objects safe for later generations, or did he betray his community by taking the objects to a museum for his own benefit?



The Feathered Headdress of the Umóⁿhoⁿ in the repository of the Ethnologisches Museum

Francis La Flesche , Collector
Omaha ( Ethny), (1857 - 1932)

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SMB, Ethnologisches Museum

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© Christoph Mack

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Kurzbeschreibung
Feathered Headdress
SPK_Zusammenarbeit_7397_final.jpg
The Feathered Headdress of the Umóⁿhoⁿ in the repository of the Ethnologisches Museum


Mon-'shon-pa-gdhon (feathered headdress) of the Umóⁿhoⁿ

The feather headdress, which must have been of particular importance to La Flesche, is mentioned right away as the first object in his catalog:

“The articles collected to illustrate as far as possible the life and customs of the Omaha Tribe of North American Indians and have all been gathered from the Indians themselves, or made by them after the ancient customs of the people. The Eagle Feather War-bonnet was made by a number of old Indian warriors in the ceremonial manner, War Honors were counted upon each feather and the ritual songs sung.”



Pierre Merrick - descendant of the American ethnologist Francis La Flesche close

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SMB, Ethnologisches Museum

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© Christoph Mack

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Pierre geschnitten.jpg
Pierre Merrick - descendant of the American ethnologist Francis La Flesche in Berlin


After Francis La Flesche sent the collection to Berlin in the 19th century, Pierre Merrick is the first Umoⁿhoⁿ to touch the objects in more than a hundred years.

“The man that wore that must have been a kind of man that we don’t have in our tribe today. Because of the deeds that he had to do to be recognized as a chief, as a leader, it takes a lot of sacrifice to get to that point. Many of the objects, for example the feather headdress, that used to belong to a chief, don’t exist anymore at home. The only place you can find them is here in Berlin.”


Representatives of the Umóⁿhoⁿ in the depot rooms of the Ethnological Museum of the National Museums in Berlin/ Dahlem

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Ethnologischen Museum der Staatlichen Museen

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© SHF

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Kurzbeschreibung
In the foreground: objects from the La Flesche collection.
Foto 2.jpg
Representatives of the Umóⁿhoⁿ in the depot rooms of the Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in Berlin Dahlem


Past, Present, and Future of the Umóⁿhoⁿ Community

The experiences of racism, violence, and land loss continue to shape the Umóⁿhoⁿ community today. In this context, the Berlin collection is of particular importance because it bears witness to resistance against colonization. It offers people the opportunity to reconnect with their ancestors and ways of life and to look with pride at their own history.

The collaboration between the Ethnologisches Museum and the Nebraska Indian Community College shows how forward-looking provenance research on ethnological collections can be, and how collections can thereby be reactivated to conduct collaborative research on the objects and the themes that surround them.

Ilja Labischinski works as a provenance researcher at the Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin on the collections of the Ethnologisches Museum and is curator of the exhibition "Francis La Flesche," which will open at the Humboldt Forum in 2022.





Achille Le Roy, Le droit au bonheur. Droit au repos, Paris: Librairie socialiste internationale, 1908

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Institut für Sozialforschung

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SBB

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Bruno Kaiser and the Socialistica from the Institut für Sozialforschung

In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the literary scholar, Marxist and librarian Bruno Kaiser (1911-1982) built up a library specialized in the History of Socialism and the Labor Movement at the Central Committee of the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED – Socialist Unity Party of Germany). In the process, socialistica holdings from libraries confiscated under the Nazi regime suddenly became a focus of interest.



Bruno Kaiser

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Manfred Krause

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Foto: Manfred Krause

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Prof. Bruno Kaiser best.jpg
Bruno Kaiser, 1980

Bruno Kaiser - Literary Scholar, Marxist, Librarian and Bibliophile

Both personally and professionally, Bruno Kaiser was driven by the urge and passion to collect books. Already in his youth he began to build up a private library. Due to his involvement in the anti-fascist resistance and the distribution of illegal leaflets, as well as his Jewish origin, he was compelled to emigrate to Switzerland after being arrested, tortured and interned under the Nazi regime. He engaged in scientific research on socialism and was later recognized in the GDR for his Marx-Engels research.
Bruno Kaiser returned to Germany in 1947.  In his position as department director of the Öffentliche Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek (Public Research Library), the successor institution to the Preußische Staatsbibliothek (Prussian State Library) in East Berlin, he cared for the unprocessed holdings.
In 1949, he took over the establishment and management of the new specialized research library, which was founded at the Berlin Institut für Marxism-Leninism by a decision of the SED party leadership. In order to quickly build up the new library from scratch, recourse was made to the unprocessed holdings in the cellars of the former Preußische Staatsbibliothek – including part of the library of the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt am Main and thus Nazi-looted books.





Platon Michajlovič Keržencev , Čemu učit Lenin (=What Lenin teaches us), Leningrad u.a.: Gosizdat, 1925

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Institut für Sozialforschung

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SBB

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IfS_Abb_3_edit.jpg
Russian print from 1925 from the confiscated holdings of the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt am Main


Socialistica under new Signs in the GDR

Large specialized scientific libraries, such as those of the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt am Main, and also the libraries of politically persecuted parties, trade unions and workers' organizations fell victim to confiscation under the Nazi regime. Various Nazi institutions were also interested in the Socialistica, using the holdings as research sources for intelligence purposes. The collections were therefore frequently broken up and redistributed.

In the GDR, Socialistica were finally evaluated in a new light. The scientific study of socialism and the workers' movement was politically encouraged. The Socialistica holdings of confiscated and dispersed libraries were used to build up new libraries. Even though other distribution mechanisms took effect than under the Nazi regime, the collections remained shattered after 1945.



Stamp of the library of the Instituts für Sozialforschung in Frankfurts a. M. (=Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt a. M.)

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Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

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SBB

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IfS_Abb_4_edit.jpg
Stamp of the library of the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt am Main

Confiscation and Destruction of the Library of the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt am Main in 1933

The Institut für Sozialforschung was founded in 1923 and was dedicated to the theory and history of socialism, Marxism and the labor movement. A library focussed on socialism and communism was built up, and its holdings grew to as many as 40,000 volumes by 1933. Under the Nazi regime, the Institute was dissolved in 1933 and the library was confiscated because it contained „subversive materials”.
While the institute continued its work abroad, the library was dismantled. About 20,000 volumes of "anti-state and subversive" literature were given to the Preußische Staatsbibliothek as the central receiving and distributing institution of literature confiscated in Prussia. The "unobjectionable" remaining stock was taken over by Frankfurt institute and seminar libraries.
Although the Preußische Staatsbibliothek began to incorporate the acquired books and exchanged duplicates with the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office), most of them were stored unprocessed in the cellars of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin during World War II.





N. Bervi-Flerovskij, Zapiski revoljucioneramečtatelja (= Records of a revolutionary hobbyist), Moskau: Molodaja Gvardija, 1929

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Institut für Sozialforschung

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SBB

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Kurzbeschreibung
Important indications for the identification of books from the Institut für Sozialforschung in the holdings of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin are the Institute's stamp and handwritten accession number as well as the accession number assigned by the Preußische Staatsbibliothek in 1937, consisting of the abbreviation "IfS" and a consecutive number noted on the back of the title page.

After 1945, the holdings of the Institut für Sozialforschung, which had been taken over by the Preußische Staatsbibliothek, were further torn apart. Volumes that had been displaced due to the war were destroyed or taken away to Polish and Soviet institutions. Books exchanged with the Reichssicherheitshauptamt ended up in the redistribution processes initiated by the Bergungsstelle für wissenschaftliche Bibliotheken (Salvage Office for Academic Libraries) and later by the Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Altbestände (Central Office for Old Academic Holdings). A large number of volumes were handed over to the new SED library. Only a fraction of the volumes were incorporated before and after 1945 and remained in the Staatsbibliothek itself.

The whereabouts of the library of the Institut für Sozialforschung has not been fully clarified to this day. The extent to which volumes of the Institut für Sozialforschung were transferred from the Preußische Staatsbibliothek to the new library of the Institut für Marxism-Leninism and are therefore now in the library of the Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR  (SAPMO – Foundation Archives of Political Parties and Mass Organizations of the GDR) in the Federal Archives still needs to be explored in more detail. Bruno Kaiser's role in the redistribution also requires further investigation.

The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, as the successor institution to the Preußische Staatsbibliothek, has been assigned the volumes remaining in the collection from the Institut für Sozialforschung and pursued them as part of the research project "Transparenz schaffen: Recherche, Erschließung und überregionaler Nachweis von NS-Raubgut im Druckschriftenbestand der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin“ (Creating Transparency. Identification and Indexing of NS-Looted Books in the Collection of Printed Books of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin).
Under difficult conditions - the accession journal has unfortunately not survived - particularly suspicious accessions were examined. In the process, in August 2018, 536 volumes from the library of the Institut für Sozialforschung, which was confiscated in 1933, were identified and restituted to the institute, which returned to Frankfurt in 1951.

The author Friederike Willasch is a research assistant in the Abteilung Historische Drucke (Department of Early Printed Books) at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.





Queen Olugondo of Ondonga, Okadina

Hermann Tönjes (Collector), 1909

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Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin – Ethnologisches Museum

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Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin – Ethnologisches Museum / Photo: Claudia Obrocki

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Queen Olugondo of Ondonga

What forms of contact were women able to make during the colonial period? Queen Olugondo of Ondonga, a kingdom in the north of present-day Namibia, and Anna Rautanen, daughter of a Finnish missionary, shared an extraordinary friendship. An intricately crafted doll in the collection of the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin provides insight into their relationship.



Chief Kambonde II von Ondonga

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Verlag von Martin Warneck

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Photo: Tönjes, Hermann

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Kurzbeschreibung
Aus: Tönjes, Hermann. Ovamboland: Land. Leute. Mission. Berlin: Verlag von Martin Warneck, 1911, S. 143
(Land. People. Mission)
Königin Olugondo.jpg
Chief Kambonde II of Ondonga with his main wife Olugondo, around 1900


The Gift of a Queen

Queen Olugondo was the principal wife of King Kambonde (II) kaMpingana, who ascended the throne of Ondonga in 1884. Unlike the rulers in the neighboring Ovambo kingdoms, he supported the Finnish missionaries who had been trying to convert the population to Christianity since 1870. Hence, Queen Olugondo and Anna Rautanen knew each other since Anna’s childhood days, which she spent in the kingdom as the daughter of the missionary Martin Rautanen.

With the help of Nehoa Kautondowka, Chief Education Officer for Culture at the Namibia Commission for UNESCO and visiting scholar at the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin, we were able to retrace the relationship between the two women: As a child, Anna owned a European doll. When she returned to the Kindgom of Ondonga after a school stay in Finland, she had left the doll there, as adult women in Europe no longer played with dolls. In the Kingdom of Ondonga, however, they were much more than toys. They were an important part of a woman's growing up. Girls received dolls as gifts from their parents. At the engagement, the groom gave his future wife's doll a name to be given to the couple's first child. Now, in 1900, Anna was about to marry the German missionary Hermann Tönjes in the Kindgom of Ondonga. But was Anna to marry without an "Okana" (child), the Oshidonga name for such dolls?

Queen Olungondo made (or had made) an “Okanda” for Anna after the latest fashion of the kingdom and gave the doll her name. Thus, the queen and the doll became "Okadina" or namesakes. Queen Olugondo and Anna had thus established a relationship that would endure through Anna's marriage and departure from the kingdom. 



Queen Olugondo of Ondonga, Okadina,

Hermann Tönjes (Collector), 1909

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Ethnologisches Museum der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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Ethnologisches Museum der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz Fotograf/in: Claudia Obrocki

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III D 3656 -C.jpg
Okadina - doll of the Queen Olugondo of Ondonga


Okadina - Expression of Royal Fashion

The Okadina doll was not only the sign of a long-standing friendship between two women. It was also an expression of the fashion and prestige of the royal court of Ondonga. Hertha Bukassa, cultural officer at the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture of the Republic of Namibia and visiting scholar at the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin, explains the significance of the individual fashion elements:

Onjeva was and is an adornment made of ostrich eggshells that young girls wear around on their hips; oshilanda, valued dark blue glass beads, adorn her upper body; a number of large buttons imported from Europe serve as surrogates for the precious and scarce omba, a jewelry made of ivory or shell.

Queen Olugondo thus processed only the most precious materials to express her appreciation for Anna.



Press conference September 18, 2019, Foyer of the Museum Dahlem

- Golda Ha-Eiros, Curator for Liberation Heritage under the Office of Vice-President: Veterans Affairs
- Hertha Bukassa, Cultural Officer at the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Namibia
- Jonathan Fine, Curator for the Collections from West Africa, Cameroon, Gabon and Namibia at the Ethnological Museum of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin
- Lars-Christian Koch, Director for the Collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin at the Humboldt Forum, September 18, 2019, Foyer of the Museum in Berlin Dahlem

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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Ethnologisches Museum

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© SPK/photothek.net/Florian Gärtner

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Kurzbeschreibung
As part of a partnership between the Museums Association of Namibia (MAN) and the Ethnologisches Museum der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, several researchers from Namibia have been visiting Berlin since spring 2019. Together with the researchers of the Ethnological Museum, they examined the more than 1400 objects from colonial contexts in Namibia in the museum's collection. They investigated their history, meaning and artistic potentials and reactivated the knowledge about them.
Vitrinenbild high.jpg
Press conference September 18, 2019, Foyer of the Dahlem Museums. In the foreground: Hertha Bukassa and Golda Ha-Eiros
Okadina can be considered an archive of Namibian fashion. The clothing, with some modifications, is still worn by women in the Ondonga Kingdom today, linking the past with the present.

Statement by Nehoa Hilma Kautondokwa, Museum Development Manager of the Museums Association of Namibia and visiting scholar at the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin.





Nehoa Hilma Kautondokwa, Cynthia Schimming and Julia Binter with Okadina in the depositories of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Ethnologisches Museum

2019, Berlin

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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Ethnologisches Museum

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Filmstill from Tracing Namibian-German. Photo: Moritz Fehr

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EM-Namibia-Film_01.jpg
Nehoa Hilma Kautondokwa, Cynthia Schimming and Julia Binter with Okadina in the depot of the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin

We were only able to reconstruct Okadina's multi-layered meanings thanks to the collaborative research with experts from Namibia, who visited Berlin in 2019 as part of a cooperation between the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin and the Museums Association of Namibia. Our collaborative research has shown that Okadina was much more than a doll that Anna's husband, Hermann Tönjes, sold to the Königlichen Museum für Völkerkunde (now  Ethnologisches Museum zu Berlin) in 1909. It tells of the friendship of two women, their coming of age, and the fashions of their time.

Julia Binter works as a provenance researcher at the Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin where she is currently leading the cooperative project on the collections from Namibia at the Ethnologisches Museum.





Alfred Flechtheim

1928

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Alfred Flechtheim and Paul Klee's Gingerbread Picture

The passionate modernist art dealer and owner of popular galleries in Düsseldorf and Berlin was confronted by the National Socialists at an early stage. In addition to his commitment to artists such as Picasso, Grosz and Kandinsky, he was also targeted because of his Jewish origin. In 1934, persecution forced him into emigration. He reached London via Paris. Impoverished and separated from his wife in Berlin, and without legal residence status, Alfred Flechtheim died there in 1937 at the age of 59 as the result of an accident.





Paul Klee - Gingerbread picture back

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Paul Klee's Gingerbread Picture

Today the works of art that Alfred Flechtheim traded and owned still bring his tragic fate to mind and keep the memory of the influential gallery owner alive. Provenance research has a special task in this regard: in order to locate cultural property seized as a result of persecution, it is obliged to clarify the exact circumstances under which these works of art that passed through Flechtheim's hands were traded.

One of these works is Paul Klee's 1925 Gingerbread Picture from the holdings of Museum Berggruen, as attested by a sticker from his gallery on the back of the painting.



Paul Klee's gingerbread picture

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Kurzbeschreibung
Paul Klee's gingerbread picture - Traces of his history
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Paul Klee's Gingerbread Picture, 1925


An international Exhibition Guest


Before 1945, the Gingerbread Picture had travelled a lot. Klee owed this above all to Flechtheim's commitment, as he represented the artist as a dealer.
At the Große Kunstausstellung in Düsseldorf in 1925, he presented Klee's picture to the public for the first time. In 1926, exhibitions followed in Dresden, Wiesbaden and Zurich, the following year again in Düsseldorf, this time in his own gallery, as well as in Mannheim and Paris. Further shows were mounted in Berlin, Brussels and Antwerp. The back of the small oil-collage also documents presentations in 1930 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and after 1945 in Milan and Bern.



Excerpt from MoMA Catalog

1930

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Kurzbeschreibung
In the spring of 1930 the highlight of their partnership until then accured: The New York Museum of Modern Art showed the gingerbread picture as one of 63 works by Klee at his first show in an American museum. It was Flechtheim who, in collaboration with his American colleague J.B. Neumann, brought it to New York. Although the sale was not successful, it was the accolade for the painting. In the catalog the „Cookie Picture“ was listed as No. 7.
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The accolade: Klee's first show in an American museum, arranged by Flechtheim and his partner J.B. Neumann. Catalog of the MoMA in 1930


File

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Kurzbeschreibung
Text of the file:
Inspector Bähr
Please send the four pictures to Paul Klee
"Picture with the cock and the grenadier" 1919
"The Fool" 1927
"Gingerbread picture" 1925
"Letter image" 1924
To Prof. Paul Klee, Düsseldorf, Heinrichstr. 36
to send
September 20, 1933
Hentzen

3/10.33 The above-mentioned paintings
are sent back to the owner today.
Bähr
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The Zentralarchiv's file documents the return of the work to Paul Klee in 1933.


Klee's Commission Agent

To the question of whether the work has a problematic provenance, a document in the Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Central Archive of the National Museums in Berlin) provides a clear answer: The Berlin Nationalgalerie also exhibited the painting. In 1933, the year the National Socialists seized power, it was returned directly to Paul Klee on September 20, probably also to prevent the confiscation of the now outlawed art. In the letter, the curator Alfred Hentzen asked that the painting be returned along with three other loans, which the depot administrator Bähr confirmed with a note at the bottom of the document. To that date, Flechtheim held the painting on consignment and was trying to sell it on behalf of the artist and owner Paul Klee.

At this time, Klee had already been dismissed from his professorship at the Düsseldorf Art Academy and moved to Switzerland with his wife. The Gingerbread Picture accompanied them and remained in the family until after World War II. Its varied exhibition history with 15 presentations in eight years, decisively set in motion by Flechtheim, was over for the time being. The fact that he managed to arrange the loan to the Nationalgalerie, but was unable to conclude it, illustrates the abrupt and bitter end of his work, which without provenance research as such would probably be forgotten today.



Paul Klee, Three times Three crosses

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Known and unknown provenances

As in the case of the Gingerbread Picture, it is not always possible to establish a continuous chain of provenance for researched artworks. Gaps often remain because not all of the previous owners can be determined.

An example of these remaining gaps is Paul Klee's painting Three times Three Crosses in the Museum Berggruen. This painting also has a Flechtheim provenance and its circumstances are still unclear even after extensive research. 
Since an initial suspicion could not be dispelled, the work was reported in the  Lost Art database.  

The Provenance Chains of both Works


Gingerbread Picture: 1925 to 1940 Paul Klee, Düsseldorf, Bern | latest 1927 to 1932 Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Düsseldorf, Berlin (on consignment) | 1930 J. B. Neumann, New York (on consignment) | 1940 to 1946 Lily Klee, Bern | 1946 to 1947 Klee Society, Bern | 1947 Karl Nierendorf, Berlin, New York | to 1954 Carlo Frua de Angeli, Milan | 1954 to 1957 Galerie Feilchenfeldt, Zurich | since 1957 Werner Josten, New York | Eugene Victor Thaw & Co, New York | 1989 David Carritt Ltd., London | Acquavella Galleries, New York | Stephen Mazoh & Co., Rhinebeck | 1988 to 1990 Heinz Berggruen, Paris | 1990 to 1998 BIGI Co., LTD., Tokyo | 1998 to 2000 Heinz Berggruen

Three times three Crosses: 1925 to 1929 Paul Klee, Weimar and Dessau | 1927 Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Düsseldorf (on consignment) | 1927 to 1928 Rudolf Probst/Galerie Neue Kunst Fides, Dresden | 1928 to 1929 Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin (on consignment) | 1929 to no date Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin | until 1935 Dr. Bernatti | 1935 until no date. The Mayor Gallery, London | at least since 1941 Leicester Galleries, London | at least since 1946 The London Gallery, London | at least since 1951 until 1955 Curt Valentin Gallery, New York | 1955 until 1965 G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh | 1965 to 1966 G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh | Harry Torczyner, New York | until 1998 Marcelle Torczyner, New York | 1998 until 2000 Heinz Bergguen



Both artworks have been part of the Nationalgalerie’s holdings at Museum Berggruen since 2000. 
The former collection of Heinz Berggruen was examined for its provenances from 2014 to 2018 as part of a project by Sven Haase and Doris Kachel. The results were presented in the exhibition The Lives of Images. Provenances at Museum Berggruen  The Lives of Images. Provenances at Museum Berggruen Picasso – Klee – Braque – Matisse

Sven Haase, the author of this article is a provenance researcher of Europeen Fine Arts at the Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin.





Mangi Marealle

Repro Digitalisat, Digitale Aufnahme, 1887

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Kurzbeschreibung
Portrait of Mareale, a leader of the Chagga in a deck chair

mangi Marealle of Marangu

In this photo from 1887, we see a young man sitting on a deck chair. He looks seriously and critically into the camera and remains at a dignified distance. His name is Melyari or Marealle, the "tireless one". Since about 1880 Marealle has been the ruler (mangi) of Marangu, which will become one of the most powerful empires in the Kilimanjaro region (in present-day Tanzania) during German colonial rule. Particularly striking in the photograph is the jewelry worn in the left ear. This or a similar one was entered in 1897 as a "wooden ring" under the number III E 4815 in the main catalog of the Königliches Museum für Völkerkunde Berlin.



Work Photo III E 4815

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Kurzbeschreibung
Historical main catalog: "Wooden ring decorated with small copper spirals, formerly worn in the left earlobe by Chief Mareale of Marangu".
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Work photo of the earring of the 'mangi' Marealle made of wood and copper, height 1cm/diameter 8.2cm


Inventoried and labeled: The "Colonial Archive" and its Voids

How exactly the ear jewelry, inventoried in the main catalog as a "wooden ring" came into the possession of the wealthy Leipzig publisher, geographer, historian, explorer, and later colonial politician Hans Meyer (1858-1929) cannot be proven on the basis of the sources reviewed so far. What was the significance and function of this object for Marealle and to what extent was it related to his position as mangi? Without answers to these questions, it is also impossible to clarify whether the object was considered alienable at all. The fact that Marealle handed over the jewelry could indicate how important he valued the relationship with Meyer, especially against the backdrop of the political power competition in the region.



Entry "Holzring“ (Wooden Ring III E 4815)

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Kurzbeschreibung
Entry in the historical main catalog of the Ethnological Museum Berlin:
"Wooden ring decorated with small copper spirals, formerly worn by Chief Mareale of Marangu in the left earlobe. 8.9 cm diameter: Dschagga".
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Entry "Holzring“ (Wooden ring III E 4815) in the historical main catalog of the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin


Visibility and Anonymity

 
In the historical main catalog of the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin, Hans Meyer is noted as the donor. Marealle is named in the object description as the previous owner of the earring. Names are rarely mentioned among the more than 8,000 objects from mainland Tanzania that were appropriated during German and also British colonial rule. Most of the previous owners, users and producers of the objects remain anonymous. German or European "collectors" usually only mentioned East African dignitaries and related them to the objects. Some of these objects had trophy status for the colonizers. Women in positions of political power are generally rare in the colonial archives; they usually remain nameless or are absent altogether.



Book cover of Hans Meyer's "Zum Schneedom des Kilimandscharo", 1888

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Kurzbeschreibung
Hans Meyer wrote a travel report with 40 photographs about his first trip to the Kilimanjaro region. Meyer was one of the first to use photography systematically and equally along with the usual methods, such as surveying, sketches and written records to document his travels and research results. The portrait of Marealle in a deck chair is part of this book, which Meyer had dedicated to the newly crowned Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Book cover of Hans Meyer's "Zum Schneedom des Kilimandscharo", 1888
Marealle - An approach
 

Who was Marealle? At the present stage of research, this question can only be answered in fragments and from a very Eurocentric perspective. The starting point is initially the "colonial archives," the acquisition files of the Ethnologisches Museum, travel descriptions such as the one published by Hans Meyer in 1888, and historical literature. When Marealle was installed as ruler of Marangu in about 1880, he was still penniless and Marangu as a political entity was without significance. Through a skilful marriage policy, he consolidated his position among the strongly competing rulers of the relatively densely populated Kilimanjaro region. He increasingly succeeded in this by welcoming Arab and Swahili traders as well as European and American travelers to Marangu and establishing relations with them.





"Meeting in Marangu"

Hans Meyer (photo), probably 1898, Marangu

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Kurzbeschreibung
On the chairs (from right to left) Captain Kurt Johannes, station chief of Moshi and mangi Marealle and other people. Around them members of the so-called German Schutztruppe, in the background a crowd of people.
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"Meeting in Marangu," mangi Marealle with Kurt Johannes, station chief of Moshi, and others, 1898.
Marealle and Colonial (Power) Relations on Kilimanjaro
 

From the early 1890s, Marealle used his contacts with representatives of the colonial state to instrumentalize them in the interests of his power-political agenda. He discredited his rivals vis-à-vis the German colonizers and thus increasingly consolidated his position in the colonial ruling structure. Thus, in the 1890s, he finally advanced to become the most powerful mangi of the eastern Kilimanjaro region: He controlled 27 of the 44 small states of the Chagga living on Kilimanjaro and was given the name Kilamia, "the conqueror." But his position was also fragile, as he was dependent on the goodwill of the respective German station chiefs in Moshi. War campaigns against supposedly non-cooperating mangi as well as executions by the Germans were integral parts of colonial rule practices. Marealle finally abdicated in 1912.





List of gifts for mangi Marealle

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Kurzbeschreibung
(aus: Hans Meyer: Zum Schneedom des Kilimandscharo, 1888)
Stolen, Bought, Exchanged. Given, Acquired, Collected...?

The ear jewelry most likely came into Meyer's possession during his first stay on Kilimanjaro in 1887. He stayed with his caravan of about a hundred people for several weeks at Marealle's residence in Manrangu. Meyer depended on Marealle's support in his exploration of Kilimanjaro. He presented Marealle with gifts, including barter goods common in the area: Cloth, beads, and wire, as well as weapons and ammunition, knives, snuff, harmonicas, and champagne. In return, he received permission to climb Kilimanjaro as well as food to feed the expedition members. According to Meyer, Marealle gave him three spears as a gift; an ear ornament is not mentioned in the sources we have seen so far.



Expedition participants and members of the Maasai in front of a station building of the German East African Association (DOAG) in Moshi

Hans Meyer (photo), 1887, Moshi

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BILD 6_Station Moshi.jpg
Expedition members, representatives of the Maasai and Hans Meyer in front of a building of the Deutsch-Ostafrikanischen Gesellschaft in Moshi, 1887


Friendship? Relationship "at Eye Level"?
 

In 1889, during his second visit to Marangu, Meyer again emphasized his friendly and personal relationship with Marealle. He did so, however, in an arrogantly benevolent, colonial ideologically pejorative manner. Meyer saw himself as a representative of the German Reich and was probably perceived as such. Representatives of the German East African Association (DOAG) accompanied him on his first trip. The idea was to make territorial claims to the area. A dubious, so-called protection contract of the DOAG with the mangi Rindi of Moshi served as its basis. When Meyer toured the Kilimanjaro area and came into possession of the earring, the German presence was still fleeting and the DOAG station, established in 1887, was only sporadically manned. Meyer, supposed explorers, European missionaries and traders, and DOAG representatives were dependent on the goodwill and support of the mangi in the second half of the 1880s.

Kristin Weber-Sinn works as a provenance researcher at the Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin on the collections of the Ethnologisches Museum.
Among other things, she is conducting research with colleagues from the National Museum of Tanzania and the University of Dar es Salaam on selected object holdings from Tanzania that are housed in the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin and the National Museum and House of Culture in Dar es Salaam (funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, in cooperation with the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).

The previous perspectives and results of provenance research, based on the "colonial archives," will not only be expanded through the cooperative research, but critically questioned.



02

PLACE



Floor plan Carinhall

1945

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Kurzbeschreibung
Floor plan drawing for the third extension of the Waldhof with art museum, presented on 12 January 1945 by Goering on his 52nd birthday.

A Hunting Lodge in the Schorfheide

Where is Carinhall located? What works of art were housed there?
Before the end of the war, Hermann Göring (1893–1946) ordered his residence Carinhall demolished with explosives. Abandoned art objects remained on site.
The Collection of Classical Antiquities of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin contains several works of art from Carinhall that are now the property of the Federal Republic of Germany and have been made available to the museum on permanent loan.



Roman Lion Sarcophagus

250-300 AD

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Kurzbeschreibung
The lion sarcophagus SL 3.2-2 (Lei 43) is grooved and in the center there is an almond-shaped field (so-called mandorla). The rim of the tub is decorated with an egg bar frieze.

In the Neues Museum you can admire an impressive marble sarcophagus, which displays on both sides a striding lion.
The piece comes from the collection of the Nazi functionary Hermann Göring in Carinhall and is on permanent loan from the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany) to the Antikensammlung der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Collection of Classical Antiquities).



Carinhall, Courtyard with Bronze Stag

1937

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Carinhall, courtyard with bronze stag, 1937


Carinhall

In Carinhall, situated on the idyllic Großer Döllnsee in the Schorfheide close to Berlin, Göring had a hunting lodge built in 1933 which, after substantial extensions in the years 1936-1937, became Göring's prestigious residence. It also housed his numerous works of art, which he had collected since the early 1930s. Göring profited in the compilation of his collection, among other things, from confiscations in the territories occupied by German troops. Among his works of art were also objects of Jewish ownership.



Letter to Hermann Göring

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Kurzbeschreibung
Records of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historical Monuments in War Areas (The Roberts Commission), 1943-1946.
Subject Files, compiled 1944 - 1946, documenting the period 1940 - 1946. Contini - Bonacossi - Goering. National Archives Catalog id 1537311, NARA M1944, roll 0088, page 43, retrieved Febuary 26, 2021
Letter from Andreas Hofer, "Director of the Art Collection of the Reichsmarschall" dated October 14, 1942


Lions and Art

The lion sarcophagus was purchased in 1942 by the art dealer Andreas Hofer (since 1941 "Director of the Art Collection of the Reichmarschall") from the Italian art dealer Ugo Jandolo in Rome.
In a letter to Göring dated October 14, 1942, Hofer reported:

Jandolo, Rome. After protracted negotiations I acquired the magnificent Roman sarcophagus with the two great lions in half relief... The owner of the sarcophagus had meanwhile learned from the dealer who had the sarcophagus on consignment that the piece was intended for you & suddenly no longer wanted to sell! Of course, this should serve the crook only as a pretext to induce me to offer a much higher price. After days of negotiations, I acquired both objects at the original price of L. 100.000.- for the sarcophagus....., plus 10% agreed brokerage fee. The sarcophagus is far more beautiful & important than the one you purchased from Brasini in the spring, in addition, except for unimportant trifles, preserved flawlessly, it will give you great pleasure.


Hermann Göring with his wife Emmy and his young lion in Carinhall

Date of Record: July 28, 1936

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Kurzbeschreibung
On the occasion of the visit of Charles Lindbergh
History / Germany / 20th c. / National Socialist era / Domestic policy / Goering / Carinhall
Löwe klein.jpg
Goering was known to have a passion for lions. The lion sarcophagus was prominently displayed in a hall at Carinhall.


Ruins of Carinhall, Schorfheide in Brandenburg

Date: May 16, 1948, Carinhall

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Ruine.JPG
Ruins of Carinhall, Schorfheide in Brandenburg, 1948

The End of Göring's Hunting Lodge

The estate was destroyed in April 1945 on Göring's orders to prevent its capture by Soviet troops. Although preparations had already been made since February to transport the most valuable works of art to Veldenstein Castle, where Göring had had a bunker built to secure his collection, numerous objects still remained at Carinhall. No official records are known from the time of the capture of Carinhall by the Red Army.

And what did Carinhall look like when the Central Office began salvaging it after the Russians withdrew in June 1946? A pile of rubble.

So reports Kurt Reutti, head of the salvage office of the Magistrate of Greater Berlin ("Zentralstelle zur Erfassung und Pflege von Kunstwerken").
And yet there were still numerous works of art:

partly lying in the open, partly in the blasted bunkers and bunker corridors....

Among these works of art was also the lion sarcophagus - it had remained in Carinhall.





Lion Sarcophagus on the Museum Island

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Kurzbeschreibung
The sarcophagus was recovered after the war by the "Central Office for the Registration and Care of Works of Art" in Carinhall and transferred to the Collection of Classical Antiquities of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Reinigung Sarkophag.jpg
"Lion Sarcophagus" on Museum Island, around 1947


The Sarcophagus on Museum Island

The sarcophagus was recovered in Carinhall after the war and transferred to the Berliner Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities). The photo shows it being cleaned by female staff after being transported to Museum Island. The photograph can be dated to the time immediately after the transfer from the "Zentralstelle" (around 1947).

Between 2013 and 2016 the Lion Sarcophagus - like other objects belonging to the Federal Republic of Germany - was examined by Laura Puritani as part of a research project of the Antikensammlung der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Collection of Classical Antiquities).

Research into the provenance of archaeological objects is carried out from several points of view: Even if they were not seized due to persecution in the period from 1933 to 1945, it must be verified whether they belong in foreign ownership (Fremdbesitz) or were illegally excavated or traded.





Itinerary of Johan Adrian Jacobsen
Overview map of the voyage of Captain J. A. Jacobsen

L. von der Vecht, 1881-1883, Leipzig

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Chenega Island: Travelled on behalf of the Royal Königlichen Museums für Völkerkunde

On behalf of the then Königlichen Museums für Völkerkunde, Norwegian sailor Johan Adrian Jacobsen travelled the American Northwest Coast and Alaska between 1881 and 1883. On Chenega and Nuchek Islands he acquired large collections of ethnographic objects. On Chenega Island he gathered almost 200 items, including a striking hat.



Hunting Hat of the Chugach

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Hunting Hat – IV A 6174

Chugach Hunting Hat

This hat, woven from spruce, is probably a headdress for hunting. The outstanding design is reminiscent of American Northwest Coast motifs. It is decorated with numerous colorful beads and long whiskers of a sea lion. The red and black color of the hat is now slightly faded and hints at how colorful it must have once been. Such a hat was worn by the men at sea during the hunt. On the one hand, it protected them from rain and water, on the other hand, it served as camouflage.





Chugach Alaska

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Chugach, Alaska - A Region in the Focus of European Interests

In the mid-18th century, Russian fur traders settled in the region and colonized southern Alaska. The settlers kidnapped Native women and children, the men were forced to do hard labor, and disease spread so rapidly that many people died. In the early 20th century, a smallpox epidemic drastically decimated the population, and an earthquake followed by a tsunami destroyed most of the buildings in many towns. In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez caused a serious accident that contaminated the entire coast.

The political situation of Alaska's Indigenous population changed in 1971, when the U.S. government enacted the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), as a result of which the Chugach Alaska Corporation was founded. It now has self-determination over its land and its resources and since then has been committed to preserving its cultural heritage.



Museum für Völkerkunde - View into the Hall of the Northwest American Collections

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Museum für Völkerkunde - View into the hall of the Northwest American collections, ca. 1926


From Alaska to Berlin

In the late 19th century, explorers and travelers shipped thousands of objects from southern Alaska to European and American museums.
Johan Adrian Jacobsen alone sent over 3,000 objects from Alaska to Berlin, including numerous human remains from graves.
His view of the Indigenous people shows the arrogance with which Europeans believed that these cultures would adapt to Western civilization.



Johan Adrian Jacobsen

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Jacobsen_neu.jpg
Johan Adrian Jacobsen, undated photo

Return to Berlin

In November 1883, Jacobsen returned to Berlin. There he unpacked and catalogued his collections, which had already arrived at the museum. During this time, with the help of a journalist, he prepared his diaries for publication, which appeared in 1884 under the title "Capitain Jacobsen's Reise an der Nordwestküste Amerikas 1881-1883: zum Zweck ethnologischer Sammlungen und Erkundigungen nebst Beschreibung persönlicher Erlebnisse". (Capitain Jacobsen's voyage on the northwest coast of America 1881-1883: for the purpose of ethnological collections and inquiries, together with a description of personal experiences)





"Captain Jacobsen's Journey on the Northwest Coast of America 1881-1883: for the purpose of ethnological collections and inquiries along with descriptions of personal experiences".

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Captain Jacobsen's Journey on the Northwest Coast of America: for the purpose of ethnological collections and inquiries along with description


Jacobsen's Travelogue

In his travelogue (1881-1883) Jacobsen mentioned the objects of Chenega Island only once:

In the evening we returned to the village, where I bought all the ethnographic objects that were available. [...] The ethnographic objects that I bought here consisted of stone axes, wooden plates with inlaid beadwork, large stone lamps, beadwork, jackets made of eagle skins, and more.

In the travelogue the hat is not mentioned at all, but is probably among the objects Jacobsen acquired on Chenega Island. Such hats were valuable family heirlooms. Why was this striking and important object not mentioned?
As with many other objects in the collections of the Ethnologisches Museum, the exact circumstances of the acquisition of the Hunting Hat from southern Alaska are and remain unknown.



Visit of a Delegation of Chugach in November 2019

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Coopertaion: Visit of a delegation of Chugach in November 2019

"What happened to our Ancestors?"

In the fall of 2015, a delegation from the Native Alaskan cultural organization, Chugachmiut, travelled to Berlin with the goal of establishing cooperation for a virtual collection of all Chugach objects worldwide. In the depot of the Ethnologisches Museum, an emotional moment occurred when John Johnson, vice president of the Chugach Alaska Corporation, read from the travelogue of Johan Adrian Jacobsen. In it, Jacobsen describes removing human remains from graves, including a woman and child whose bones decayed in Jacobsen's hands.

What happened to our ancestors?
John Johnson wants to know today.




Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, and John Johnson, Vice-President of the Alaska Chugach Corporation, at the presentation of the grave goods

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© SPK/photothek.net/Felix Zahn

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Johan Jacobsen's looted grave goods are handed over by Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger (SPK) to John Johnson (Alaska Chugach Corporation), May 2018


Restitution and the Future

In 2018, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz returned nine objects to the Chugach Alaska Corporation, that Jacobsen had stolen from graves. The whereabouts of the human remains could not be determined and are being investigated cooperatively as part of provenance research.

Approximately 200 objects from the region remained in the Ethnologisches Museum's collections and are now part of collaborative research. For this purpose, a delegation of representatives of the Chugach visited the Ethnologisches Museum again in 2019.

As a provenance researcher at the Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Ilja Labischinski works together with colleagues from the Ethnologisches Museum and representatives of the Chugach on projects concerning the provenance, education, and exhibition of objects and the knowledge associated with them.





Mosse Palais Berlin Site Plan

Hans Strauch

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Palais Mosse - Leipziger Platz 15/ Voßstraße 22

Immediately after the end of the Second World War, an impressive lion made of limestone could be found in a garden on Voßstraße.
A short time later, it turned up on Museum Island. But who did it belong to?



Reclining Lion

August Gaul

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Kurzbeschreibung
The "Reclining Lion" was commissioned by the leading Berlin newspaper publisher Rudolf Mosse for the entrance hall of his palace on Leipziger Platz.
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August Gaul, Reclining Lion, 1903


Kurt Reutti, employee of the Berlin magistrate, stated in an internal report:

Large reclining panther, marble. Recovered from a garden on Voßstraße


View from the courtyard of the palace of Rudolf Mosse Voßstraße 22

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Panther or Lion?

In 1949, the sculpture came to Museum Island, It was handed over by Kurt Reutti, an employee of the Berlin magistrate: He was fully committed to taking care of works of art that were lying around unprotected on streets, squares, in parks and gardens in destroyed Berlin. He had reported the discovery of a marble panther. It was not a panther, but a lion and not made of marble, but of limestone. The reported location of the finding, "Voßstraße" promised a possible link to the former owner.



Rudolf Mosse around 1910

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Rudolf Mosse around 1910

The Man who introduced Advertising to the Newspapers

The German-Jewish publisher Rudolf Mosse (1843−1920) lived in a prestigious palace between Leipziger Platz and Voßstrasse. In 1867, he opened the "Rudolf Mosse Zeitungs-Annoncen-Expedition" (Rudolf Mosse Newspaper Advertising Expedition) at Friedrichstrasse 60 with borrowed start-up capital, thus putting a bold idea into practice: He was one of the first publishers to lease entire pages in newspapers, which he then sold to advertisers for ads. In doing so, Mosse struck a chord with the times, as the rapidly developing press market with increasing circulations also raised production costs. Selling space for advertisements was thus a welcome means of increasing newspaper revenues.

Just five years later, the company had more than 250 branches in Germany and abroad and advertised confidently with "Inseraten-Annahme für sämmtl. existirende Zeitungen der Welt" (Accepting advertisement orders for all existing newspapers in the world). Beginning in 1871 Mosse published the high-circulation daily “Berliner Tageblatt”, which by 1933 had become the largest liberal daily newspaper in Germany and one of the most widely read German papers abroad.





Rudolf Mosse Palace
Voßstraße 22, Berlin

1935

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Kurzbeschreibung
Front view
Crop_JSG_Palais_Rudolf_Mosse_1935_BieberNather.jpg
Rudolf Mosse's palace Voßstraße 22, frontal view 1935


City Residence on Leipziger Platz

Mosse also used his extensive private fortune as a promoter and patron, donating large sums to Jewish organizations as well as to vacation colonies, workers' country homes and destitute sick people, founding, among other things, an educational home for orphans and a pension fund for his employees. He also generously supported the Berlin museums; in 1891 he provided 30,000 marks for the purchase of Egyptian antiquities. One year later, more than 600 objects came to the Egyptian Museum as a "donation by Rudolf Mosse."

In the 1880s, Rudolf Mosse had the new city residence on Leipziger Platz built. He furnished it with works of art and a library. The surviving catalogs show an exquisite collection along with the Lion. Mosse was considered a great lover of sculpture and had commissioned August Gaul in 1902 to create a lion in stone for his new palace.
After his death in 1920, his palace became a gallery open to the public, and the publishing house was continued by his son-in-law Hans Lachmann-Mosse.



Soviet occupation soldiers posing at the lion

August Gaul, 1945, Berlin

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Soviet occupation soldiers posing by the lion, 1945


Emigration and Expropriation in 1933

The seizure of power by the National Socialists in January 1933 finally made the economic survival of the already struggling Jewish publishing house and Germany's leading liberal newspaper completely impossible. Rudolf Mosse's heirs, his adopted daughter Felicia Lachmann-Mosse with her husband and three children, managed to emigrate to Switzerland in March 1933. All their private assets, the real estate and the art collection were confiscated, the publishing group was aryanized. In 1934, the art collection was offered at the Rudolph Lepke auction house in Berlin. From this sale, further objects entered the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, albeit through very different channels and until the 1970s. No object was acquired by the museums directly at the auction.
The Nazis also appropriated the Palais on Leipziger Platz; the NS-Akademie für Deutsches Recht (Nazi Academy of German Law) moved in here under its president Hans Frank, later Governor General of Poland. The Lion was not offered at the auction of Mosse's art collection in 1934, it remained on site until the end of the war, when Kurt Reutti finally discovered it in the garden of the property on Voßstraße and had it salvaged.



Reclining Lion in the foyer of the James Simon Gallery

August Gaul

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Reclining lion in the foyer of the James Simon Gallery


A new Place for the Lion

The knowledge of the history of the Lion formed the starting point for the further search for works from the Mosse Collection in the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin. Nine works in four different houses came to light. Almost every object has its own exciting story from its creation to its place in the art collection of Rudolf Mosse and its acquisition by the museums. All nine works were restituted to the Mosse family heirs in 2015/2016. Three important works have been repurchased and are still on Museum Island today: a Roman sarcophagus with depictions of eroticism from the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities) is on display in the Neues Museum. The marble sculpture Susanna by Reinhold Begas can be seen in the Alte Nationalgalerie.
And the Lion by August Gaul has been enthroned in stately fashion in the upper foyer of the James Simon Gallery on Museum Island since summer 2019, welcoming visitors here as it once did in Rudolf Mosse's palace.

Petra Winter begun an investigation into the "Lion" as part of the provenance research project on the "Galerie des 20. Jahrhunderts“ (Gallery of the 20th Century) which was extended to other works from the Mosse Collection in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin from 2012 to 2014.

For many years, a declared goal of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has been the proactive examination and tracing of works of art that were seized during the Nazi-looting of cultural property.





Goethe's garden house and bookplate Erich Schmidt (collage)

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How did Goethe's Garden House become looted property?

In the course of provenance research at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, books with a bookplate depicting Goethe's Garden House in Weimar were repeatedly identified. Further study put provenance researchers on the track of a prominent loot of Jewish property, which took place in Berlin during the Nazi-era.



Exlibris Erich Schmidt

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The Bookplate

In a neo-Rococo cartouche, the unmistakable view of the garden house on the edge of the park on the Ilm river, and above it, to remove any doubt, the bust of the great poet - the connection to Goethe and Weimar Classicism cannot be evoked more clearly. This place of pilgrimage for lovers of literature was used to mark the “Library of Erich Schmidt” – according to the inscribed plaque. The signature "G. Otto 96." reveals that this small print is one of the numerous ex libris designs by the graphic artist George Eugène Otto, who was initially trained in his father's store on Unter den Linden street in Berlin, and which he produced as a student of Emil Doepler from 1889 onwards.



Erich Schmidt

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Library of Congress

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©George Grantham Bain Collection

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Erich Schmidt, around 1900


Erich Schmidt - Owner of the Bookplate

Thanks to this concise bookplate, the "Erich Schmidt" named on it can be immediately recognized as the well-known Lessing and Goethe scholar of this name, which is otherwise difficult to individualize due to its frequency.

After graduating from school in Schulpforta, Erich Schmidt (1853-1913) studied classical philology in Graz, Jena and Strasbourg and in 1874 earned his doctorate degree of modern German literary history with Wilhelm Scherer. A year later he received a post-doctorate degree in Würzburg which qualified him to succeed Professor Scherer in Strasbourg in 1877. In 1880 Schmidt went to Vienna as professor and in 1885 became director of the newly founded Goethe Archive in Weimar. In 1887 he again succeeded Scherer as professor of modern German literary history at Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, became founding director of the German Department, and was rector of the university from 1909 to 1910. From 1906 until his death he was president of the Goethe Society in Weimar, and as early as 1895 he was accepted as a full member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
Schmidt was at home in the literary salons of Vienna and Berlin and was widely engaged as a university lecturer and science administrator.



Collective volume "Maler Müller"

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Kurzbeschreibung
Collective volume with two works by the Goethe contemporary known as "Maler Müller," including Faust, published in 1778. On the flyleaf a handwritten table of contents by the Erlangen linguist Rudolf von Raumer, who by his own account acquired the volume in 1867. Under Raumer's entry the name "Dr. E. Schmidt", who apparently acquired this anthology in 1877 at the sale of the library of the late Professor Raumer by Eduard Besold's Antiquarium in Erlangen (catalog 42, the anthology under the number 2710) and subsequently provided it with his garden house bookplate.
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Front endpaper with handwritten table of contents and ownership note dated 1867 by Erlangen linguist Rudolf v. Raumer
The Scholarly Library of Erich Schmidt
 
"Die Bibliothek eines grossen und gelehrten Mannes ist mehrenteils ein charakteristischer Beitrag zur Denkweise und Biographie desselben.“ (Typically the library of a great and learned man contributes to his way of thinking and is a representation of his biography.)

From the often quoted preface to the auction catalog of Johann Gottfried Herder's library published in 1804

Erich Schmidt owned a large library of around 10,000 volumes with a strong background in German Literature Studies, which also included many bibliophile items such as first editions and dedication copies. His collection focused particularly on works by and about Goethe, but also Lessing and Kleist. At the same time, as a patron of modern literature from the post-classical period to naturalism, Schmidt received numerous dedication and review copies of contemporary authors. In addition to the bookplate and a stamp from his Viennese period, Erich Schmidt often left handwritten annotations and his signature in the books, so that there are usually clearly recognizable traces of provenance.

To the digital copy





Voßstr.22 Mosse Palais

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©Atelier Christoph Neubauer

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Kurzbeschreibung
Clip from the DVD "The Voßstraße"
Palais Mosse, view from the entrance Voßstraße 22
The Erich Schmidt Library in the Palais Mosse


After Erich Schmidt's death on April 29, 1913, the Berlin publisher Rudolf Mosse purchased the collector's complete library, prior to a planned auction from the Berlin antiquarian bookseller Martin Breslauer, thus saving it from destruction. However, Schmidt's autograph collection items were separated, and were offered and sold individually by Breslauer in 1914.

Rudolf Mosse had the library placed on the ground floor of the palace at Leipziger Platz 15 / Voßstraße 22, which had been built for him in the neo-baroque style and was splendidly furnished. From March 1914 he made it accessible to the public for two hours each day of the week. He hired Hans von Müller as librarian. Whether the four-volume, typewritten and alphabetically arranged "Verzeichnis der Büchersammlung Rudolf Mosse <formerly Univ.-Prof. Erich Schmidt>" dates from this time or was only created during the later sale of the collection is still unclear.





Congratulations page from Emilie Mosse

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Kurzbeschreibung
The handwritten congratulations from prominent figures from the press, politics, art, theater, science and religion, as well as from his staff and family, were embellished with numerous original photographs, drawings, watercolors and even musical compositions. After the well-wishers, ranging from Reichstag member Dr. Bruno Ablass to painter Heinrich Zille and journalist Fedor von Zobeltitz, had designed the sheets, a pair was brought together to form the front and back of a sheet, the sheets were then gilt-edged and put together in two clip-binders designed especially for the occasion, presumably in rough alphabetical order.
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Congratulations page from Emilie Mosse


Rudolf Mosse - A man of Action and not of Books?

Surprisingly, the Erich Schmidt library, acquired by Rudolf Mosse in his seventieth year and thus saved from destruction, remains to this day one of the few verifiable possession of a book of this professional bookseller and internationally active publisher. 
There is one exception that could not be more personal: The congratulatory album compiled as a gift for Rudolf Mosse on the occasion of his 70th birthday on May 8, 1913, gathered 302 contributions, of which 263 are still preserved today.

The print edition published in parallel by the editors of the album contains the texts as well as notes on the illustrations and thus gives an impression of the congratulations missing today in the original as well as of the condition of the original binding.

To the digitized version of the Mosse album
To the digitized print edition



Drawn Congratulation by Caricaturist Hermann Wilke from Mosse Album

Hermann Wilke

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Drawn congratulation by caricaturist Hermann Wilke


Drawn Congratulation by Caricaturist Hermann Wilke from the Mosse Album

This congratulatory page, designed by Brunswick caricaturist Hermann Wilke (1876-1950), cleverly combines a drawing with his own portrait photograph. As a permanent contributor to the satirical weekly magazine Ulk, Wilke dedicates an illustration titled, "View of his father city" to his employer. Inspired by the Mosse newspaper publications, he drew an elderly couple placed downstairs in front of their house. She is engrossed in the illustrated Welt-Spiegel and he in the Berliner Tageblatt.

Two other scenes of the drawing show a well-situated chubby reader of the Volks-Zeitung on the first floor and on the second floor, a laughing young man reading the Ulk. At that time, Ulk was a circulation-boosting free supplement for several newspapers of the Mosse publishing house.



Dedication Paul Lindau to Mrs. Mosse

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Another of the few examples with personal provenance traces that point to Mosse, is a book given to Mosse’s wife Emilie for Christmas. On December 23, 1889, the journalist, dramaturge, and writer Paul Lindau dedicated his freshly published novella Im Fieber "Seiner liebenswürdigen Freundin Frau Rudolf Mosse in freundschaftlicher Verehrung" (To his kind friend Mrs. Rudolf Mosse in friendly reverence).

Traces left by Rudolf Mosse himself - be it handwritten notes, at least a name or an acquisition date, even a bookplate commissioned by him - could not be discovered in any of the volumes examined so far. In terms of books, Mosse can be seen primarily as a businessman and patron, not as a reader.



Congratulations sheet from Raffael Schuster-Woldan

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©Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin / Image editing: Doris Antonides-Heidelmeyer

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Kurzbeschreibung
The Mosse album was apparently acquired by the antiquarian bookshop Agnes Straub, which dissolved the folders and dismantled front and back pages. Until 1945, several of these sheets were offered and sold as individual autographs so that 39 contributions are missing today.
The sale records of the remaining holdings from the antiquarian bookshop Straub, held by the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Academy of Sciences)document that in 1952, "242 photographs from the Rudolf Mosse Collection (autographs)" reached the "Öffentliche Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek" (Public Scientific Library – a predecessor institution of today's Staatsbibliothek). In 1966 they were finally incorporated into the Handschriftenabteilung (Manuscripts Department) under the call number Alb. amic. 141.
Thanks to the unsold sheet with a red chalk drawing by Raffael Schuster-Woldan and the pencil note "112/393" in the lower right corner with the price 30.- [RM], the antiquarian bookshop Agnes Straub can be determined as the seller of individual sheets of the album. The traces of the antiquarian bookshop, which have been documented many times through provenance research, enable a clear assignment and the resolution of the inconspicuous note as a reference to the offer number 393 in the Straub catalog no. 112 (ca. 1940).
Congratulatory page with red chalk drawing by Raffael Schuster-Woldan, in the lower right corner pencil note of the antiquarian Agnes Straub
Expropriation and Sale by the Nazi Regime

For the National Socialists, the Mosse family was a symbol of the hated "Jewish press". It was persecuted immediately after the seizure of power because of its Jewish faith and also because of its political stance. Rudolf Mosse's adopted daughter and heiress Felicia and her husband Hans Lachmann-Mosse emigrated to the United States via Switzerland and France in the first half of 1933.

The Mosse Group was forced into insolvency proceedings. The Lachmann-Mosse property was then "administered" and "utilized" by Mosse-Treuhandverwaltungs-GmbH, the real estate was transferred by the Nazi state to its own institutions such as Hans Frank's Akademie für Deutsches Recht (Academy of German Law), and the valuable art holdings were auctioned off in 1934.

After the confiscation of the private property of the Mosse family, the sale of the library from the Mosse-Palais also began in 1934 via several antiquarian bookstores, with the provenance of Erich Schmidt being placed in the spotlight. The bookstore of Sophie Szczepanski in Berlin-Charlottenburg was involve from the beginning as it had a business relationship with the Staatsbibliothek at that time. Also still in 1934, a catalog of the Berlin Wertheim Antiquarian Bookshop "together with antiquarian Friedrich Korn" was published, followed by catalog offers from the Berlin antiquarian bookshops Agnes Straub and Der Bücherwurm.





ZwA Documents

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Records of the "Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Altbestände" on the takeover of the holdings of the Christian Weise Bibliothek Zittau


Redistribution in the GDR: The Role of the "Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Altbestände"

The surviving files of the "Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Altbestände" (ZwA) show that in 1974 the ZwA took over and redistributed 1,000 volumes from the library of Erich Schmidt, which had come to the Christian Weise Bibliothek Zittau by unexplained means as unsold auction items. At this late date, a few more volumes from the Schmidt-Mosse provenance were taken over into the holdings of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.

To the index of the
"Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Altbestände" (ZwA) - File holdings

After years of investigation by the provenance research team of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin it was possible to identify 44 volumes from the Erich Schmidt library and Paul Lindau's dedication copy for Emilie Mosse. Finally - through cooperation with the "Mosse Research Initiative" (MARI) - the reconstruction of the Mosse album as looted property of the family, as well as the retracing of the paths of the books to a large extent became feasable. Provenance researcher Hannah Neumann, in particular, has contributed significantly to clarifying this case and correctly classifying the provenance of Erich Schmidt. 
In the meantime, Erich Schmidt's garden house bookplate has also become an identifying mark in other libraries for books looted from the Mosse family.

On July 8, 2020, the volumes identified as Nazi looted property and the two cassettes containing the surviving leaves of the Mosse Album were handed over to the heirs of the Mosse family by the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation).

The author, Michaela Scheibe, is a provenance researcher and deputy provisional head of the Department of Early Printed Books at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. She is also chair of the dbv Commission on Provenance Research and Provenance Cataloguing and a proven expert in the field of Nazi looted property in libraries.





Plan De Constantinople et Du Bosphore

between 1793 and 1802

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Kurzbeschreibung
From the collection of Jean Baptist Nothomb, a Belgian envoy to the Prussian court, it was probably printed in Vienna in 1788, so would correspond to the time of Diez's stay in Istanbul. It shows the surroundings of Istanbul from the Marmara Sea over the Bosporus to the mouth of the Black Sea.

Royal Prussian Legation in Constantinople

Among the most outstanding treasures of Islamic art are the five so-called Diez'sche Klebealben.
Together with over 17,000 volumes, manuscripts and an extensive coin collection, they form the legacy of the diplomat Heinrich Friedrich von Diez, who began collecting during his stay at the Sublime Porte in Constantinople between 1784 and 1791.



Two Ottoman Men at a Table

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Muraqqa' - Scrapbooking in the 18th Century (Die Diez’schen Klebealben )

Pasting albums have a long tradition in numerous oriental cultures. They were used in courtly circles for aesthetic enlightenment, but were also used as pattern books for transferring to other materials such as textiles in workshops. The word muraqqa', borrowed from Arabic, was used in the context of patchwork clothing or patchwork. Just as a patchwork is composed of different pieces of fabric and patterns, the individual album pages consist of images of different origins and formats. The arrangements usually do not reveal any reference in terms of content or style. For their part, the albums compiled by the Ottoman sultans have a very convoluted history of their own, and some of them date back to even older albums.
Outside of these rare albums, such materials have generally not survived.



Heinrich Friedrich von Diez

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Heinrich Friedrich von Diez (1751-1817)

Diplomat and Private Scholar

Heinrich Friedrich von Diez was a highly unusual diplomat of the Prussian court. Universally educated and versed in numerous oriental languages, he had a decisive influence on contemporary scholars through his publications on oriental literature and history.
In 1784, he successfully applied for the post of envoy to Constantinople. Frederick II himself sent Diez to Constantinople as Prussian chargé d'affaires to the Sublime Porte, the Sultan's palace in Istanbul.
In 1791 Diez left the diplomatic service and worked first in Kolberg and then in Berlin as a private scholar. Here he devoted himself primarily to the expansion of his extensive universal library.
His stay in Constantinople and his affinity for the Orient shaped Diez throughout his life. In his house in Berlin-Stralau, the bachelor, described by his contemporaries as eccentric, owned a Chinese, a Persian and a Turkish room. He also dressed in oriental style.





Angel Appearance (Engelserscheinung)

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Angel Appearance - Iran, first quarter of the 14th century


Fragmented Biographies of the Albums

Five pasiting albums form one of the highlights of Diez's library; they provide information about the history of Persian-Central Asian painting. The miniatures were largely created in the 14th and 15th centuries in what is now Iran and Afghanistan.
It is unclear from which sources the more than 450 pictorial works in the albums, which vary considerably in origin, size, execution and quality, originated and under what circumstances they found their way into Diez's collection. That Diez acquired the albums in Constantinople as complete ensembles and only rebound them has since been contradicted. Diez most likely assembled the albums himself according to his taste.
He purchased numerous books at the bazaar, but he also had suppliers who provided him with books, manuscripts, and works of art directly from the Seraglio, the palace of the Ottoman rulers. In 1789 he acquired, among other things, the albums of the harem staff.
Despite their uniqueness, compared to his overwhelming library, Diez's albums fell into oblivion and were rediscovered only in 1956.

Link to the digital copy



Fore-edges of Diez' books

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Diez kept his books lying flat, as was customary in the Arab world at his time. The inscription made it easier to find them.

The Diez Collection in the Königlichen Bibliothek in Berlin

Heinrich Friedrich von Diez stipulated in his will that his "collection of books, manuscripts and Oriental paintings" should be given to the then, Königlichen Bibliothek (Royal Library). Diez ordered a separate listing of his books as a closed collection in the order he had specified.

Together with the unique book collection, the pasting albums with Oriental "paintings" arrived at the Berlin Königliche Bibliothek in 1817. They are all digitized and can be found under the call numbers Diez A Fol. 70-74 in the Oriental Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.





Index of Oriental and Occidental Manuscripts

Heinrich Friedrich von Diez, 1790

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Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

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Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

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Catalogue Collage.jpg
Heinrich Friedrich von Diez produced several catalogs himself during his lifetime. The subject major groups are noted as order words.


"Verzeichnis der morgenländischen und abendländischen Handschriften in meiner Bibliothek"
(Index of Oriental and Occidental Manuscripts in my Library)

The directories Diez wrote in his own hand reflect his personal interests and the principles of order according by which he collected.
He expanded the term "Orient" beyond geographical boundaries to include not only all of Asia with China and Japan, but also Africa with Egypt. He also included the parts of Europe that belonged to the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
In the prefaces to these catalogs, Diez justifies his line of thought:
The decisive factor was the "Oriental spirit", which differed fundamentally from the Occidental. It is characterized by a far greater permanence of culture and way of life, sciences, arts and philosophy. For generations, the people of the Orient have remained faithful to their traditions in their thoughts and actions as well as in science and the arts, and their views have remained constant. For Diez, the Orient is "a humanity that for millennia has always remained the same, both externally and internally, so that its newest is nothing other than its oldest".

to the digital copy of the directory

Scholarly and bibliophile libraries, such as the Bibliotheca Dieziana, are preserved in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin as closed provenances. They are among the library's great treasures and are kept under special conservation conditions.
You can look at, touch and read these volumes in the Rare Books Reading Room of the Staatsbibliothek Unter den Linden.

The project coordinator Doris Antonides-Heidelmeyer, in collaboration with the provenance researchers of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, has prepared this article both visually and in terms of content.





Plan de Paris par Arrondissement

May 1942, Paris

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A. Leconte, Editeur

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Image Editing: Doris Antonides-Heidelmeyer

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Paris - Square de l'Avenue Foch

In the fall of 1939, just before the German troops invaded Paris in June 1940
Arthur Rubinstein emigrated with his family from France to the USA.
That same year, the "Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg" (Reichsleiter Rosenberg Taskforce) confiscated the Paris possessions of the world-famous Jewish pianist and took his private library to the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office) in Berlin.
In 1954, Rubinstein returned to the house in the illustrious Square de l'Avenue Foch. Of his fragmented library, only 137 books have resurfaced by that time.



Joseph Hecht's Elephants - Exlibris and other Etchings

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Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

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©Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin / Image Editing: Doris Antonides-Heidelmeyer

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Kurzbeschreibung
Etchings from exhibition catalog of the Dolan/Maxwell Gallery, Philadelphia
https://dolanmaxwell.com/publications/21-joseph-hecht/
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Bookplate of the Arthur Rubinstein library with handwritten signatures and other "Elephant Etchings" by Joseph Hecht


Arthur Rubinstein, Joseph Hecht and the Elephant

The story of the house library of the Polish pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982) begins in his adopted home of Paris. He had lived there since 1904, and after World War I, the artist and graphic designer Joseph Hecht (1891-1951) also came there. Hecht, like Rubinstein, was born in Łódź, Poland, into a family of Jewish textile industrialists. That this circumstance brought them together is very likely.
Books from Rubinstein's library feature a bookplate designed by Joseph Hecht, which can be traced from the early 1930s. The print shows an elephant drawn with a few confident strokes and the name Arthur Rubinstein in block letters. A handwritten signature, which includes the respective first letter of the author and a consecutive number, completes the bookplate.
It is peculiar to Hecht's work that he cut out individual animal motifs from his printing plates and used them for new compositions.
The elephant is thus possibly not a direct commentary on Rubinstein's person. Hecht rather associated the pachyderm with Paris and depicted it almost identically in various circumstances. Hecht used his frequent visits to the Paris zoo for the artistic development of his characteristic animal studies.



Files Fold3 Ancestry

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Fold3 - Historical military records, Ardelia Hall Collection

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©Fold3

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Kurzbeschreibung
retrieved November 2020
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Files of the American military government: letter and part of the list of books that Rubinstein reported as looted in June 1946


From the Square de l'Avenue Foch to Udmurtia

The Elephant bookplate is an important guide to Arthur Rubinstein's library, which is now completely dispersed.
4,000 volumes and numerous musical items had comprised the collection in his house on Square de l'Avenue Foch before it was confiscated by the German occupiers. Over the decades, thanks to a title list made from memory, some books and sheet music could be identified and restituted.
Some books were transported to the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office) in Berlin, from where they later became part of the Öffentliche Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek (Public Research Library) as "herrenloses Bibliotheksgut“ (ownerless library property).
After the end of the war other copies reached the Soviet Union through Soviet trophy brigades, among them the All-Russian Library of Foreign Literature headed by Margarita Ivanovna Rudomino.
In the course of redistribution campaigns between 1945 and 1961, organized by the Rudomino Library, foreign-language books were also given to the Udmurt Soviet Republic . According to a scholarly review of the holdings of the National Library of Izhevsk published in 2010, its catalog shows a volume of poetry by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) containing Rubinstein's bookplate. Is Poésie from 1925 one of the books that Rubinstein was particularly fond of and which he put on the list of his stolen books?



Collage Cocteau/ Rubinstein

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Wikicommons, Instituto Cervantes

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Wikicommons, Instituto Cervantes/ Photo Rubinstein: Carl von Vechten, Photo Cocteau: Agence de Presse Meurisse/ Collage: Doris Antonides-Heidelmeyer/ Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

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Kurzbeschreibung
Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French poet, writer, playwright, painter, drawer, occultist, designer, critic and filmmaker is certainly one of the great, dazzling personalities of the last century. The volume Poetry from the Rubinstein Collection landed at the National Library in Izhevsk by a circuitous route. Here, the book, published by Gallimard in 1925, is classified as a "valuable collection" - the value it had for the pianist was most likely primarily an emotional one. The facts known to us and Cocteau's letters from the 1960s, however, provide insight into a long-lasting friendship that lasted until Cocteau's death.
Cocteau Collage_ohne Zeichnung.png
Rubinstein and Cocteau maintained a long friendship. Between 1921 and 1930 they met regularly in the musical cabaret "Bœuf sur le Toit".


Rio de Janeiro 1918

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Arthur Rubinstein Estate / Renaissance Literary Agency

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©Arthur Rubinstein Estate

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Kurzbeschreibung
Artur Rubinstein and Darius Milhaud, Rio de Janeiro, 1918
Rio_1918.jpg
Arthur Rubinstein (left) and Darius Milhaud (2nd from left) in Rio de Janeiro in 1918


Le Bœuf sur le Toit

Alongside Jean Cocteau, the French poet, writer, painter and filmmaker, Rubinstein met many influential and fascinating personalities during the wild 1920s at the legendary Parisian Bar La Gaya, where jazz was played and Afro-Brazilian sounds inspired them. Rubinstein, too, had a distinct penchant for South American culture.
On a concert tour in Rio de Janeiro in 1918, he met the French composer Darius Milhaud. Back in Paris, memories of Brazil manifested themselves in Milhaud's compositions and in the new name for their favorite popular bar: Le Bœuf sur le Toit.
It was not unusual to hear Milhaud playing here with Rubinstein and Georges Auriac to six hands. Among other things, they also performed the piece about the Ox on the Roof, which takes up the rhythms of a Brazilian folk song and was reworked by Cocteau into a ballet.
During their stay in Rio, Milhaud and Rubinstein also made the acquaintance of Heitor Villa-Lobos, a Brazilian composer unknown in Europe at the time. He owes his first great successes in Paris, where they invited him, primarily to the intensive encouragement of these two.



Rudepoêma 1921-1926

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Juilliard School, New York

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©Juilliard School, New York

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Kurzbeschreibung
"My sincere and great friend, I don't know if I could fully grasp your soul with this Rudepoême, but I swear with all my heart that I have the impression of having your temperament, as I feel it, engraved mechanically, as if by an intimate snapshot, into the staves. So if this is successful, you will always be the true author of this work. Your Villa-Lobos"
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Rudepoêma 2021 - accessible for research in the archives of the Juilliard School, New York.


Heitor Villa-Lobos, Rudepoêma 1921-1926

Composer Villa-Lobos owed no small debt of gratitude to generous and loyal patron Arthur Rubinstein: he dedicated to him one of the most influential piano pieces of the 20th century, probably the most difficult solo piano piece ever to play: Rudepoêma.
"Rude" in Brazilian stands for "wild" or "raw." Rudepoêma is both, "Rubinstein's Poem" and a "Wild Poem".
The score, with a dedication on the first page, was among the music Rubinstein was forced to leave behind at the Square de l'Avenue Foch in 1939. It was confiscated, as were his books, in 1940.
Only handwritten dedications - the elephant bookplate was not used for sheet music - made it possible to assign the musical materials confiscated in Paris to the pianist's collection. The Rudepoêma and a further five scores by Villa-Lobos lied for a long time in a pile of a total of 71 sheets of music that came from Moscow to the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin-Ost in 1958/59.
Until their restitution to Rubinstein's children in 2006, these sheet music remained unexplored among the holdings of the Music department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.

The restitution of 71 musical items by the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin to Rubinstein's heirs in 2006 was the prelude to more extensive provenance research activities at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. Thus, in 2020, together with the Leipzig University Library, six additional books and two scores with personal dedications were restituted to Rubinstein's children.
The first restitution package was donated by Rubinstein's children to the Juilliard School in New York in 2007. As a result, the 71 musical items, some of them digitally, are now accessible to the public, published in the Arthur Rubinstein Music Collection of Juillard School. The Department of Early Printed Books of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin documents provenance markings and research results in the ProvenanceWiki, platform for provenance research and provenance indexing. The bookplates and dedications are documented here.
Networking and transparency significantly promote the research of library holdings.

The project coordinator for provenance research at the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Doris Antonides-Heidelmeyer, in collaboration with the provenance researcher of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Regine Dehnel, prepared content and visuals for the article "Paris - Square de l'Avenue Foch" on Arthur Rubinstein's striking bookplate, the pianist's artist friendships and the musical piece Rudepoêma, which was dedicated to him.





Dresdner Bank

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Bundesarchiv Berlin

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©Bundesarchiv Berlin / unknown photographer

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Kurzbeschreibung
Dresdner Bank's main administration building in Berlin's Behrenstrasse

Dresdner Bank - Headquarters Berlin

In August 1935, Dresdner Bank and the Prussian state signed a contract for the sale of around 4,400 works of art. The sales added up to an impressive 7.5 million Reichsmarks. This stock had accumulated over years as collateral for credit transactions in the Berlin headquarters of Dresdner Bank and in the branches throughout Germany.



Purchase agreement between Dresdner Bank and the Prussian State

August 15, 1935

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Geheimes Staatsarchiv – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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Geheimes Staatsarchiv – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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Purchase agreement between Dresdner Bank and the Prussian State


The biggest Art Deal of the Nazi era

From the very beginning, the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin were involved in the Dresdner Bank's sales negotiations with the responsible ministries. The proceedings lasted almost two years, because as an institution directly subordinate to the state, they were supposed to be the custodians of the works of art. In addition, a museum had the necessary expertise that a bank official did not necessarily possess. Art experts from various fields were in demand, because this state transfer to the museums covered a wide spectrum from sculpture to painting and graphic art to furniture, oriental carpets and Persian ceramics. Actually, the museums were only interested in the top works, but the bank wanted a sale en bloc for economic reasons. In the end, the bank accommodated the Prussian State with the price, and in return the museums took over the entire collection, but were then allowed to sell on what they considered second- and third-class.



Sarah führt Abraham Hagar zu

Mattheus Stom, 1642/ after 1645

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Kaiser Friedrich Museumsverein, on permanent loan to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Gemäldegalerie

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© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Gemäldegalerie / Photo: Jörg P. Anders

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Kurzbeschreibung
Matteus Stom (1600 - after 1641): Biblical depiction / Sarah leads Abraham to Hagar (1642-1650); 2019 restitution to the heirs of Heinrich Ueberall, former Gemäldegalerie cat.no. 2146
Mattheus Stom: Sarah führt Abraham Hagar zu, 1642 – 1650


Sarah leads Abraham to Hagar

Among the paintings transferred from the Dresdner Bank holdings to the Gemäldegalerie was one by the painter Mattheus Stom, born around 1600 in Amersfoort, an important representative of the Dutch Caravaggists. This trend in Baroque painting was based on the example of the Italian artist Caravaggio. His style was characterized above all by effective light staging and a particularly expressive sign language.



Historical document: Works of art from the collection of the Dresdner Bank

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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Zentralarchiv

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©Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Zentralarchiv

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List 17 documents the transfer of artworks from the Ueberall Collection to museums


"Überall, Berlin"

The transfer of this painting from the Dresdner Bank to the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin was documented on List 17. In sixth place is "Matt. Stomer / Biblische Darstellung“ (Biblical Depiction), with an estimated price of 5.000 Reichsmarks. Together with the nine other items on this sheet, it came from the previous possession of the Jewish art dealer Heinrich Ueberall. He had used the artworks as collateral for a loan he had taken out with the Dresdner Bank before 1932. The origin of his collection was known to the museums through previous correspondence with the contracting parties. Thus, one museum employee, probably while unpacking the works, wrote in pencil across the list, "Überall, Berlin." Most of the other notes on the document concern the museum-internal distribution of the artworks among the individual collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.



Advertisement of the art dealer Heinrich Ueberall in the "Weltkunst"

July 22, 1934

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Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

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©Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

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Kurzbeschreibung
Jg. VIII, Nr. 29, 22. Juli 1934, S. 3.
Advertisement of the art dealer Heinrich Ueberall in the "Weltkunst".


The Art Dealer Heinrich Ueberall

Heinrich Ueberall was born in Yaroslavl, Galicia, on December 20, 1869. In 1899, he moved with his wife Rebeka and two children to Berlin and opened an art and antiques shop. The business quickly became one of Berlin's leading art firms. When the National Socialists took power in 1933, he came under increasing pressure as a Jewish merchant. Between 1936 and 1938, he was forced to give up his business. In 1939 he successfully applied for a British entry visa for himself and his wife. However, the outbreak of war prevented the trip. Thus, in September 1939, Ueberall was deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He died there in the same month. His widow committed suicide in 1942 after receiving a deportation notice. The daughter had already emigrated to the USA with her family in 1938, the son to London in 1939.



Dresdner Bank letterhead

1935, Berlin

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Geheimes Staatsarchiv – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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©Geheimes Staatsarchiv – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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Debts to the Dresdner Bank

Before 1932, Heinrich Ueberall had taken out a loan of around 43,000 Reichsmarks at a Berlin branch of the Dresdner Bank, "Depka 50". He was probably trying to bridge a financial bottleneck that had arisen during the Great Depression. In 1934, the Berlin headquarters of the Dresdner Bank took over the loan commitment, as the branch was only allowed to handle simple business transactions. However, the realization of loans secured by works of art was anything but an easy task. The "Industry Office" department was entrusted to manage this centrally. Although Ueberall had succeeded in reducing his debts somewhat, he was unable to redeem his deposited collateral in full, because his business was already doing poorly in 1935. He had lost important customers who did not tolerate him as a Jewish art dealer. There is no evidence that circumstances other than his persecution by the Nazi regime prevented him from financially rehabilitating himself and selling his art to the state.



after Canova: Venus (around 1845/64)

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Formerly Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Nationalgalerie, restituted to the heirs of Heinrich Ueberall in 2019

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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Nationalgalerie

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after Canova: Venus (around 1845/64)


Restitution and Reacquisition

In 2019, Stom's painting Sarah Leads Abraham to Hagar was restituted to the heirs of Heinrich Ueberall, along with two other paintings from the Gemäldegalerie and two sculptures from the Alte Nationalgalerie. Originally, three additional paintings, a Boule-Pendule clock, and seven gold boxes from Ueberall's estate had been taken over with the Dresdner Bank inventories. These works, however, are considered war losses or were resold in an auction at Julius Böhler in Munich in 1937, so they had not been in the museums' possession for decades. The painting by Mattheus Stom returned to the Gemäldegalerie in 2020 thanks to the Kaiser Friedrich Museumsverein and with the support of the Friede Springer Foundation. After restitution, it could be reacquired.

Since 2018, Hanna Strzoda has been investigating at the Zentralarchiv whether the art works taken over by Dresdner Bank in 1935 were cultural assets seized as a result of Nazi persecution.

In addition to Heinrich Ueberall, other Jewish businessmen were among the borrowers whose works of art that had been transferred as collateral and were later sold to the state. Since the individual loan transactions were very different in their arrangements, each case is examined individually in order to find just and fair solutions in the sense of the Washington Principles together with the heirs if a context of seizure is established.



03

THING



Exlibris Hedwig Hesse

Adolf Behrmann, May 1918, Berlin

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Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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Kurzbeschreibung
The bookplate designed by Adolf Behrmann shows a night sky with stars, in front of it an extinguished candle and three books, one of which is open, pierced by a knife and fork, which are held together at the top by an owl.

With Knife and Fork – How to read Books differently

An unusual bookplate as a unique clue. The owl eating books with oversized cutlery points the way to the remains of a looted private Jewish-owned library. Without this striking mark, signed and dated by the artist, Hedwig Hesse's books would probably have remained undiscovered.



Exlibris Hedwig Hesse

Adolf Behrmann, May 1918, Berlin

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Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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Kurzbeschreibung
The bookplate designed by Adolf Behrmann shows a night sky with stars, in front of it an extinguished candle and three books, one of which is open, pierced by a knife and fork, which are held together at the top by an owl.