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 Nazi Conspracy and Aggression, Volume One, Chapter Fourteen

                 2. THE GENERAL-GOUVERNEMENT
A. Confiscatory Laws and Decrees

In October 1939 Goering issued a verbal order to Dr.
Muehlmann asking him to undertake the immediate securing of
all Polish art treasures. (1709-PS)

On 15 November 1939, Hans Frank, Governor-General for the
Occupied Polish Territories, issued a decree providing in

     "Article 1. 1. All movable and stationary property of
     the Former Polish State *** will be sequestered for the
     purpose of securing all manner of public valuables."
     (1773-PS) .

On 16 December 1939, Frank issued a decree providing in

     "Article 1. All art objects in public possession in the
     General Gouvernement will be confiscated for the
     fulfillment of public tasks of common interest insofar
     as it has not already been seized under the decree on
     the confiscation of the wealth of the former Polish
     State in the General Gouvernement of 15 November 1939
     (Verordnungsblatt GGP, p. 37).

     "Article 2. With the exception of art collections and
     art objects which were the property of the former
     Polish State, art objects will be considered as owned
     by the public:
     "1. Private art collections which have been taken under
     protection by the special commissioner for the seizure
     and safekeeping of the art and cultural treasures.
     "2. All ecclesiastical art property with the exception
                                                 [Page 1107]
     those objects required for the daily performance of
     liturgic actions.
     "Article 3. 1. In order to determine whether art
     objects are public property in the sense of this
     regulation, every private and ecclesiastical art
     possession has to be registered with exact data on the
     kind, nature and number of pieces.
     "2. Everyone who possessed or at the present time is in
     possession of or else is entitled to dispose of such
     objects of art since 15 March 1939, is obliged to
     register the same." (1773-PS)

In order to implement the above decree, the following
registration decree wa issued in the name of the Governor
General by Dr. Muehlmann, Special Deputy for the Securing of
Art Treasures:

     "Article 2. 1. Objects of artistic, cultural-historical
     and historical value which originate from the time
     before 1850, have to be registered.
     "2. The registration includes the following:
     "a. Paintings.
     "b. Sculpture.
     "c. Products of handicraft (for instance antique
     furniture, chinaware, glass, golden and silver objects,
     Gobelins, rugs, embroideries, lacework, paramente,
     "d. Drawings, engravings, woodcuts, etc.
     "e. Rare manuscripts, musical manuscripts, autographs,
     book-paintings, miniatures, prints, covers, etc.
     "f. Weapons, armors, etc.
     "g. Coins, medals, seals, etc.
     "3. Regarding the art objects mentioned in section 2,
     detailed information has to be given if possible, on
     the master, the time of production, the contents of the
     representation, measurements and material (for
     instance, wood, canvas, bronze, etc.) ." (1773-PS)
The seizures authorized by the above decrees ripened into
confiscation and assumption of ownership by the General
Gouvernement, with the issuance of the following decree by
Frank on 24 September 1940:
    "Article 1. The property sequestered on the basis of
    Article 1, section 1 of the decree on the confiscation
    of the wealth of the former Polish State within the
    General Gouvernement of 15 November 1939
    (Verordnungsblatt GGP, Pg. 37) will be transferred to
    the ownership of the General Gouvernement." (1773-PS)

Heinrich Himmler, as Reichscommissioner for the Strengthen-

                                                 [Page 1108]
ing of Germanism, issued an "urgent decree" to the regional
officers of the Secret Police in the Annexed Eastern
Territories and the Commanders of Security Service in Krakau
(Charkow), Radom, Warsaw, and Lublin. The decree, 11
February 1939, was circulated on 116 February   1939, the
same date as the promulgation of the decree of Dr.
Muehlmann, above referred to (1773-PS). The Himmler decree
contained administrative directions for execution of the Art
Seizure program. (R-143)

B. Purpose of Art Seizures.

The purpose of the Seizure Program is indicated in the
aforementioned Himmler decree:
     "1. To strengthen Germanism in the defense of the Reich
     all articles mentioned in Section II of this decree are
     hereby confiscated. This applies to all articles
     located in the territories annexed by the Fuehrer's and
     Reich Chancellor's decree of 10 December 39, and the
     General Government for the Occupied Polish Territories.
     They are confiscated for the benefit of the German
     Reich and are at the disposal of the Reich Commissioner
     for the Strengthening of Germanism."
     "All confiscations made before this decree by
     authorities of the Reich Fuehrer SS and the Chief of
     German Police and the Reich Commissioner for the
     Strengthening of Germanism are hereby confirmed. They
     are to be regarded as made for the benefit of the
     German Reich and are at the disposal of the Reich
     Commissioner for the Strengthening of Germanism."

The methodical nature of the Art Seizure Program, and the
existence of a general policy of confiscation of art
treasures, indicated in section V of Himmler's decree:

     "In due course the usual questionnaires for cataloguing
     confiscated articles are to be sent to the Chief
     Custodian East." (R-143)

The intention to enrich Germany by the seizures rather than
merely to protect the seized objects is indicated in a
report by Dr. Hans Posse, Director of the Dresden State
Picture Gallery:

     "I was able to gain some knowledge on the public and
     private collections as well as clerical property in
     Cracow and Warsaw. It is true that we cannot hope too
     much to enrich ourselves from the acquisition of great
     Art works, of paint-
                                                 [Page 1109]
     ings and sculptures, with the exception of the Veit-
     Stoss Altar and the plates of Hans Von Kulmbach in the
     Church of Maria in Cracow ..and several other works
     from the National Museum in Warsaw. ***" (1600-PS)

The avowed purpose of the art treasure seizures was the
promulgation of German Culture throughout the Occupied East:

     "*** the result is put down in the catalogue together
     with reproductions, and this is a definite proof of the
     penetration of the East by the German Cultural urge."

C. Nature, Extent, and Value of Property Seized.

Virtually the entire art possession of Poland, private as
well as public, was seized by the General Gouvernement (1233-
PS). In a catalogue of the more important works of art
seized by the General Gouvernement, paragraph 1 of the
Foreword contains the following admission:

     "On the basis of the decree of the General Governor for
     the Occupied Polish Territories of December 16,1939,
     the Special Delegate for the Safeguarding of Treasures
     of Art and Culture was able in the course of six months
     to secure almost the entire art treasure of the
     country, with one single exception: the Flemish Gobelin
     series from the castle in Cracow According to the
     latest information, these are kept in France, so that
     it will be possible to secure them eventually." (1233-

The nature and extent of materials seized by the General
Gouvernement is indicated in Document 1709-PS. The document
inventories the objects seized, and divides them into two
classifications: those of primary importance ("Reich-
important"), and those of secondary importance. Articles of
primary importance, totaling 521 separate objects, are also
set forth in a descriptive catalogue. (1233-PS)

The articles catalogued include paintings by German,
Italian, Dutch, French, and Spanish masters, rare
illustrated books, Indian and Persian miniatures, woodcuts,
the famous Veit-Stoss hand-carved altar, handicraft articles
of gold and silver, antique furniture, articles of crystal,
glass and porcelain, tapestries, antique weapons, rare
coins, and medals. The objects were seized from both public
and private sources, including the National Museum in Cracow
and the National Museum in Warsaw, the cathedrals of Warsaw
and Lublin, a number of churches and monasteries, the
Chateau of the Kings in Warsaw, university and other

                                                 [Page 1110]
libraries, and a large number of private collections of the
Polish nobility. (1709-PS)

Items placed in the second category are of the same nature
as those placed in category I. Approximately 500 separate
items are catalogued, many of the items including a large
number of separate objects treated under a single catalogue
heading. (1709-PS)

The value of the objects seized from 22 collections is
stated to be 9,437,000 Zloty. The materials referred to are
only a portion of those selected as being of secondary
importance. No valuation is given as to the balance of the
items of secondary importance or as to the 521 objects
selected as being of primary importance. (1709-PS)

D. Evidence That Seizures Were Not Merely for Protective

In Dr. Posse's report (1600-PS), a number of items are
referred to which may be found in the catalogue of art
objects "made secure" (1233-PS):

     "I was able to gain some knowledge on the public and
     private collections as well as clerical property in
     Cracow and Warsaw. It is true that we cannot hope too
     much to enrich ourselves from the acquisition of great
     Art works, of paintings and sculptures, with the
     exception of the Veit-Stoss altar and the plates of
     Hans von Kulmbach in the Church of Maria in Cracow, the
     Raphael, Leonardo and Rembrandt from the collection
     Czartoryski, and several other works from the National
     Museum in Warsaw, *** works of a rather high value of
     whose existence we in Germany had already known. Richer
     and more extensive is the Polish stock of 'objects
     d'art', such as handicraft in gold and silver, of
     German origin to a large part, particularly from the
     Church of Maria and the Cathedral of Wawel, tapestries,
     arms, porcelains, furniture, bronzes, coins, valuable
     parchment scrips, books, etc. ***"
     "As I said before, I shall not be able to make
     proposals regarding the distribution as long as an
     inventory of the entire material does not exist.
     However, I should like to reserve for the museum at
     Linz the three most important paintings of the
     Czartoryski collection, namely the Raphael, Leonardo
     and Rembrandt which are at present in the Kaiser-
     Frederick Museum in Berlin. We in Dresden are
     particularly interested in the interior decorations of
     the castle of the Kings in War-
                                                 [Page 1111]
     saw since Saxonian architects and artists have created
     them; therefore, the suggestion is made that the
     salvaged parts of it (panellings, doors, inlaid floors,
     sculptures, mirrors, glass chandeliers, porcelains,
     etc.) be used for the interior decoration of the
     Pavillion of the 'Zivinges' in Dresden." (1600-PS)

The following items listed in the above report are also
listed in the catalogue:

     Catalog No.
     Veit-Stoss Altar
     Hans Vol Kulmbach Works
     Church of Maria Handicraft              262-265, 279,
     From Jagellonic Library                   166, 167,
     199-203, 206, 209,
     212, 215-224
                                                  (See 1233-
     PS, 1600-PS.)

Appendix 8 of Document 1709-PS lists a large number of
objects which were turned over to Architect Koettgen. The
items listed include, in addition to paintings, tapestries,
etc., plates, dishes, cups and saucers, vases, cream
pitchers, glasses, a bread basket, a service tray, and other
items of table service. These objects were turned over to
the architect for the purpose of furnishing the Castle at
Cracow and Schloss Kressendorf for the Governor. (1709-PS)

A number of objects were transported out of Poland and
placed in Berlin in the Depot of the Special Deputy or in
the safe of the Deutsche Bank (1709-PS). Items at this
location are also listed in the catalog (1233-PS) as numbers
4, 17, 27, 35, 42, 45, 47, 51, 138, 141, 145, and 148.

Thirty-one sketches by Durer were taken from the collection
Lubomierski in Lemberg:

     "The Special Deputy has personally handed over these
     sketches in July 1941 to the Reichsmarshal who took
     them to the Fuehrer at headquarters where they remain
     at the present time. On express direction of the
     Fuehrer they will stay in his possession for the time
     being." (1709-PS)

All art objects seized were screened for those which were
important from the German point of view:

     "The Reich-important pieces were collected in a
     catalogue of the so called 'First Choice'. One copy of
     this catalogue has been submitted to the Fuehrer who
     reserved to himself the first
                                                 [Page 1112]
     decision as to location and use of the art objects of
     the 'First Choice' ". (1709-PS)

Dr. Muehlmann, the "Special Deputy for the Safeguarding of
Art Treasures" in the General Government, has confirmed that
it was the policy and purpose of the art seizure program to
confiscate the art treasures and to retain them for the
benefit of Germany:

     "I confirm, that it was the official policy of the
     Governor GeneraI, Hans Frank, to take into custody all
     important art treasures, which belonged to Polish
     public institutions, private collections and the
     Church. I confirm, that the art treasures, mentioned,
     were actually confiscated, and it is clear to me, that
     they would not have remained in Poland in case of a
     German victory, but that they would have been used to
     complement German artistic property." (3042-PS)

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