While death was the major tragedy of the Holocaust, all of the art stolen was definitely a dark spot. Most people don’t realize, but the art was taken from all Jews and many others by the Nazis. Some pieces of art have been found, but most still remain lost. Many that have been discovered are in museums and are not given to the true owners. There should be efforts spent on finding and recovering the art stolen by the Nazis to return it to their rightful owners.
Hitler would have his soldiers take the art from the homes where the Jews lived when they took them away. Sometimes, if he wanted a specific work of art, he would have his people steal it or take it and kill the people who owned it. He would have his men steal all of the art and other artifacts from the homes of every person they took to the concentration camps, as well as those they simply killed in their homes. Taking the art was his way of taking everything from them, and a way that he could show his superiority ...view middle of the document...
According to Der Spiegel, “He had squirreled away the priceless paintings in his Munich apartment for decades among nearly 1,300 works of art. More were found by customs officials hidden away in Gurlitt’s home in Salzburg, all stolen during the Nazi era. Hildelrand Gurlitt, his father, was known to have curried favor with the Nazis.”(Julian). This is only one example of what has been found.
Many have not been returned, but some have. There have also been searches for the missing art. One example of art being returned was in Austria. The Belvedere Gallery in Vienna, Austria, returned five Gustav Klimt paintings to a woman in California, whose family had owned them before they were stolen by Nazis. The Dutch government agreed to return around 200 works of art that had belonged to a Jewish art dealer and give them to the descendants.
Another example of art being returned is the case of Aimee. An Egyptian Girl, which now hangs in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The museum tracked down the painting from the time when it was in the Dusseldorf art gallery of an art dealer named Max Stern. Stern was Jewish and was forced to flee for his life once the painting had been sold at auction in 1937 by the Nazis who stole it from him. When he fled Germany, he moved to Montreal with his wife, where he owned the Dominion Gallery.
According to Tara Burghart, “One area where standards for provenance-the ownership history of a piece of art-have changed over the last decade concerns art stolen by Nazis, often from Jewish families, in the years leading up to and during the Second World War.”(Burghart). The history of all the art that was stolen had been changed and will always be marked by what happened to them.
Joseph Dye, chief curator at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, said, “We’re all temporary owners of the objects-museums, art collectors. The question of ownership is an important one but ultimately we’re saving the works of art for the future. They’ll last until infinity, hopefully. It’s part of our job as museum curators to be temporary custodians.”(Burghart). The museums that do have stolen art works should give them to the descendants of the people who had owned them before they were stolen. If the people do not want them, or want them to remain on public display may choose this, but they should be given this option.