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Suspect Provenances - Research on Nazi-confiscated Cultural Property in the Collection of Deutsches Museum

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Financed by the Deutsches Museum

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Project description

With this project, the museum is fulfilling its political and moral obligation arising from the Washington Declaration of 1998 to identify cultural objects in the collection that were seized as a result of Nazi persecution and, if necessary, to return them to their rightful owners.

The focus is on acquisitions made between 1933 and 1945. Around 300 suspicious cases of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution were already identified during a pre-check in 2021, for which a more detailed examination of injustice seems appropriate. The primary task of the project is to clarify these suspected cases as far as possible through provenance research and, if necessary, to provide the basis for finding a fair and just solution in the sense of the Washington Declaration.

Secondly, the project expands the focus of the pre-check from 2021: not only relevant names and terms, provenances from the art and antiquities trade, and acquisitions from private individuals, but also acquisitions from companies will be systematically examined. In particular, acquisitions from Jewish companies that were liquidated or "aryanized" under National Socialism are to be identified as potentially incriminated suspicious cases and researched in detail.

Another object of research are acquisitions after 1945 for which an earlier Nazi provenance cannot be ruled out. An example is the art, antiquities, minerals and music collection of the Pforzheim metal and machine manufacturer Max Bühler, which was taken over by the museum in 1995.


Lectures and Events

  • Wörrle, Bernhard 23.9.2021: Jena, Deutsches Optisches Museum, Workshop: Historische technische Instrumente. Zirkulation, Ansammlungen und Dokumente des Entzugs zwischen 1933 und 1945. Vortrag: Wo anfangen? Ein erster Grob-Survey zu möglichen NS-Provenienzen am Deutschen Museum.
  • Wörrle, Bernhard 7.12.2021: München, Deutsches Museum, AK Forschung. Vortrag: NS-Raubgut – am Deutschen Museum (k)ein Thema?
  • Wörrle, Bernhard 7.2.2023: München, Deutsches Museum, AK Forschung. Vortrag: Verdächtige Provenienzen. Recherche nach NS-verfolgungsbedingt entzogenem Kulturgut im Bestand des Deutschen Museums.
  • Bach, Christine 30.3.2023: Jena, Deutsches Optisches Museum, Fachtagung: Provenienzforschung Technisches Kulturgut. Händler, Museen und Sammlungen. Moderation: Panel "NS-Unrechtskontexte".
  • Bach, Christine 12.4.2023: München, Programm des Forschungsverbunds Provenienzforschung Bayern zum 5. Internationalen Tag der Provenienzforschung. Kurzvortrag: Provenienzforschung im Deutschen Museum. Zur Biographie technischer Kulturgüter.
  • Bach, Christine / Wörrle, Bernhard 19./20.10.2023: München, Deutsches Museum. Veranstaltung: 2. Vernetzungstreffen der AG Technisches Kulturgut im Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung e. V.

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