Two Nazi-plundered Artworks Found in Germany’s Bundestag

German Parliament
German Parliament

German Parliament
Reichstag Building

Berlin, Germany – Only months after the world was gripped with the news of the discovery of the billions-worth artworks said to be Nazi plunders during WWII in a Munich flat, Germany is once again taken into controversy after one art historian discovered two more art pieces said to be Nazi loots right inside the country’s parliament, Bundestag.

This said art historian started investigating Bundestag’s art collection way back in 2012. His discovery of the two art pieces suspected to be stolen by the Nazis in WWII and found among German parliament’s collection has not been confirmed but had been extensively reported.

The German tabloid Bild was the first to vent the story to the public which resulted to the Bundestag issuing a statement which said that “an art historian was reviewing two ‘suspicious cases'” though their spokesman would not confirm the find.

The probe done by the art historian was in connection to the huge collection of Nazi art loots found in a Munich flat reportedly owned by 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of Nazi art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt. German authorities have discovered the huge stash earlier on but had kept silent about for two years until the story leaked out and went global late September last year.

According to a report ran by Digital Journal October, German authorities stopped Gurlitt as he crossed Swiss border in 2010 and found out he had 9,000 euros in cash at hand. That routine check led to a probe that eventually ended up to the discovery of, perhaps, the biggest find of hidden treasured paintings in his apartment in Munich – there were reportedly over 1,400 Picasso, Matisse, Klee and other paintings in his dilapidated place believed to have been looted by the Nazis in WWII. The whole treasure trove of artworks were valued at one billion euros or $1.38 billion.

The two artworks found in Germany’s parliament and under the suspicion of being Nazi loots are connected to Gurlitt as disclosed by a report from Reuters.

Reportedly, Bild disclosed that one of the two art pieces in Bundestag had initially belonged to Gurlitt’s family. According to the same German tabloid, the two works under investigation are ‘Chancellor Buelow speaking in the Reichstag’ which is an oil painting by Georg Waltenberger dated 1905 and ‘Street in Koenigsberg’, 
a chalk lithography by Lovis Corinth.

German authorities had received heavy criticism when they chose to keep their mouth shut about the huge collection of stolen artworks found in Gurlitt’s apartment for two years. Gurlitt has even demanded that the trove be returned to him though lawyers representing Jewish collectors who have owned pieces found in the collection are also working out things on behalf of their clients. It may be that Gurlitt can still keep some of the artworks within the lot.

On the other hand, Central Council of Jews’ representatives have issued a demand that the Bundestag must declare the artworks that are in its keep.

“If the Bundestag is keeping lists of its collection secret, hindering the press in its investigations, protecting the perpetrators of Ayranization and not informing the heirs, I would wish those responsible to show more sensibility and tact,” said Council President Dieter Graumann in an interview with Bild.

It has been written in history how the German Nazis plundered art museums and private art collectors during WWII and while some of the plundered masterpieces had been found, the whereabouts of many are, up to now, still unknown.

– Digital Journal reports



Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE