The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter XIV
The Plunder of Art Treasures
Einsatz Rosenberg
(Part 3 of 3)

Reporting on the withdrawal from the Ukraine, Staff Director Utikal accounted for the removal of the following materials:

From the Museum of Art at Charcow:
Ukrainian paintings 96
Western European paintings 185
Wood carvings and etchings 12
Carpets and tapestries
From the Ukrainian museum in Kiev:

Textiles of all sorts.
Collection of valuable embroidery patterns.
Collection of brocades.
Numerous items of wood, etc. (035-PS)

In addition Utikal reported shipment of a total of 131 cases containing: 10,186 books, the catalog of the "East" library, art folios, samples of magazines, Bolshevist pictures, and Bolshevist films. Utikal also stated:

"Moreover an essential part of the prehistoric museum was transported away." (035-PS)

Another report on the shipment of works of art from the Ukraine, 12 September 1944, indicated the value of the contents of 85 chests of art objects:

"There are a great many of the oldest ikons, works of famous masters of the German, Dutch and Italian schools of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, as well as works of the best Russian artists of the 18th and 19th centuries. On the whole, the contents include the most valuable works of the known Ukrainian art possession, which in themselves represent a value of many millions after a cursory appraisal." (055-PS)

Attached to the above report is a detailed inventory listing hundreds of individual objects.

Additional evidence as to the extent of material seized in Kiev is found in a secret note, 17 June 1944, dealing with measures taken prior to the Russian Occupation. The note reported the taking of materials from museums, archives, institutions, etc.,

[Page 1104]

during the autumn of 1943 on the order of the Einsatzstab and of the Reichs-commissar. During October there were sent to the Reich 40 railway trucks, carrying mostly goods belonging to the Central Research Institute of the Ukraine. The report concluded with the statement that when the Soviets entered the town nothing of value was left. (1109- PS)

On 28 September 1941, the General Commissar for White Ruthenia reported the seizure of art treasures in the area of Minsk, destined for Konigsberg and Linz. The value of these confiscations was stated to amount to millions of marks. (1099-PS)

(4) Works of Art (West). The Robert Scholz report declared that:

"During the period from March 1941 to July 1944, the Special Staff for Pictorial Art brought into the Reich:

29 large shipments including 137 freight cars with 4,17 cases of art works." (1015-B-PS)

The report stated that a total of 21,903 art objects of all types had been counted and inventoried, and stated:

"With this scientific inventory of a material unique in its scope and importance and of a value hitherto unknown to art research, the Special Staff for Pictorial Art has conducted a work important to the entire field of art. This inventory work will form the basis of an all-inclusive scientific catalog in which should be recorded history, scope and scientific and political significance of this historically unique art seizure." (1015-B-PS)

The following is a summary of the inventory attached to the report:
Paintings 10,890
Plastics 583
Furniture 2,477
Textiles 583
Hand-made art objects 5,825
East Asiatic objects 1,286
Antiquities 259
Total 21,903

The report stated that the above figures would be increased since seizures in the West were not yet completed and it had not been possible to make a scientific inventory of part of the seized objects because of the lack of experts. (1015-B-PS)

[Page 1105]

As early as 28 January 1941, Rosenberg stated, with reference to properties seized in France alone:

"*** the value involved will come close to a billion Reichsmarks." (090-PS)

Scholz, in his report on activities from March 1941 to July 1944, expressed the value of the seizures as follows:

"The extraordinary artistic and material value of the seized art works cannot be expressed in figures. The paintings, period furniture of the 17th and 18th Centuries, the Gobelins, the antiques and renaissance jewelry of the Rothschild's are objects of such a unique character that their evaluation is impossible, since no comparable values have so far appeared on the art market.

"A short report, moreover, can only hint at the artistic worth of the collections. Among the seized paintings, pastels and drawings there are several hundred works of the first quality, masterpieces of European art, which could take first place in any museum. Included therein are absolutely authenticated signed works of Rembrandt van Rijn, Rubens, Frans Hals, Vermeer van Delft, Valasquez, Murillo, Goya, Sebastiano del Piombo, Palma Vecchio, etc.

"Of first importance among the seized paintings are the works of the famous French painters of the 18th Century, with masterpieces of Boucher, Watteau, Rigaud, Largielliere, Rattler, Fragonard, Pater, Danloux and de Troy.

"This collection can compare with those of the best European museums. It includes many works of the foremost French masters, who up to now have been only inadequately represented in the best German museums. Very important also is the representation of masterpieces of the Dutch Painters of the 17th and 18th Centuries. First of all should be mentioned the works of van Dyck, Saloman and Jacob Ruisdal, Wouvermann, Terborch, Jan Weenix, Gabriel Metsu, Adrian van Ostade, David Teniers, Pieter de Hooch, Willem van der Velde, etc.

"Of foremost importance also are the represented works of English painting of the 18th and early 19th centuries, with masterpieces of Reynolds, Romney, and Gainsborough. Cranach and Amberger, among the German masters, should be mentioned.

"The collection of French furniture of the 17th and 18th centuries is perhaps even more highly to be evaluated. This contains hundreds of the best preserved and, for the most part, signed works of the best known cabinet-makers from

[Page 1106]

the period between Louis XIV to Louis XVI. Since German cabinetmakers played an important part in this golden age of French cabinetry, now recognized for the first time in the field of art, this collection is of paramount importance. "The collection of Gobelins and Persian tapestries contains numerous world-famous objects. The collection of handicraft works and the Rothschild collection of renaissance jewelry is valuable beyond comparison." (1015-B-PS)

The report refers to 2 portfolios of pictures of the most valuable works of the art collections seized in the West, which portfolios were presented to the Fuehrer. Ten additional portfolios are stated to be attached to the report and additional portfolios are said to be in preparation. Thirty-nine leatherbound volumes prepared by the Einsatzstab contain photographs of paintings, textiles, furniture, candelabra, and numerous other objects of art and illustrate the magnitude and value of the collection made by Einsatzstab Rosenberg.

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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