Did he look into the ark?
At least his place was tidier than those hoarders who end up buried in old newspapers and cat feces.
''He who dies with the most toys is still dead.''
The Art Museum in Bern (Switzerland) has inherited the whole collection. Since Gurlitt is dead the confiscation and the whole criminal case have evaporated, but the museum is still bound by his agreement to investigate the potentially problematic part of the collection.
Of course the idea of a second generation Third Reich profiteer losing his bounty is emotionally satisfying and I can see why especially the anglophone press was mostly happy to leave it at that, but the conduct of the prosecution in this case was seriously problematic. Even if it seems likely that a substantial minority of the collection was acquired under morally objectionable circumstances (although that hasn't even been established so far) any claims that he is not the legal owner have always been rather tenuous.
Well, the anglophone worked hard to reach that moral high ground by crawling the beached of Normandy and over the bones of quite a few aboriginal people, so they like to enjoy it.
Actually, the contract that Gurlitt signed with the Bavarian police still is in effect, where the art works are still being sorted out and those whose prewar heritage is ascertainable are to be returned to the heirs. The Bern museum has publicly stated that they would be happy to assist.
I guess the question is one of tone. I understood the museum to be freely honouring the contract not being forced. The prosecution was not so much problematic in the sense of making errors, but slow and tricky due to the lack of documentation, as most of the paperwork was missing.
The problematic part is how what started out as a reasonable suspicion of tax evasion escalated to the confiscation of the whole collection. For more than three years no charges were filed. Son of a nazi profiteer or not, it isn't good policy to confiscate first and ask questions later. A hunch that moral or legal problems with the provenance of some part of the collection may emerge further down the road is not the best justification.
Of course the realities of post-dictatorial legislation are often ugly and thoroughly unsatisfying, but it is dangerous to let standards slip whenever it feels right.
I suspect we both have been following it in the local (Munich) press, but I feel differently than you do. The Zoll and the Staatsanwaltschaft have been extra careful this time around, because it is a tricky situation, not the sort of Gordean Knot you can just slice through with a sword.
Didn't the Bavarian state start some machinations to keep some of the non-nazi-appropriated art from getting into Switzerland for reasons of "protecting german cultural heritage"?
This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.