Nov 8, 2017

Art Looting Investigation Unit: mentions of the Bauer Collection in the Final Report

What do the Art Looting Investigation Reports say about the looting of the Bauer Collection? How easy - or difficult - is it to access this information today, in 2017?

Can one search the archives via internet and retrieve the information?

Here is the result of a simple test: looking for information on the seizure of the Bauer collection in one of the ALIU Reports, the "Final Report". This report contains, notably, a list of names of suspected Nazi era operators.

IN THE NEWS: An American couple Bruce and Robbi Toll loaned a Pissarro known as "La Cueillette des Pois," or "Picking Peas", which they had previously purchased from an auction house, to the Marmottan museum in Paris, where it was recognized by the Bauer family from which it had been looted during the Nazi era.  A French court ruled this week that the painting should be returned to the Bauers.

The New York Times mentions that the looted Bauer Collection consisted of 93 paintings, and that it was confiscated by the French Vichy regime but it is vague about the details.

The Pissarro painting was part of a collection of 93 master canvases amassed by French Jewish collector Simon Bauer over the first part of the last century.
The art collection was confiscated by the French regime of Vichy, which collaborated with the Nazis, and sold by a vendor designated by the then-General Commissariat for Jewish Questions in 1944.

Art Looting Investigation Reports 1945-6: mentions of the Bauer Collection in the Final Report, Red Flag List of Names

For the non-initiate, the easiest to use resource is the ALIU Red Flag List of Names, published with searchable text by the European Commission for Looted Art in Europe on their website, One just hits Control-F and enters "Bauer". Of the 20 hits, seven concern the looted Bauer collection.

Photos of the original documents can be consulted on NARA and Fold3, but these do not appear to be searchable in a usable way (the search functions appeared to miss the Bauer collection). So one must perform the tedious task of matching the text to the NARA and Fold3 references. This is complicated by the fact that NARA and its partner FOLD3 do not use the same page numbers. So the same page might be listed as 115 in FOLD3, 116 in NARA and 110 on the paper copy of the report. (This is, in fact, the case for the entry on Lefranc, Jean François). There is no correspondence table to help researchers keep the references straight.  Perhaps this does not hamper professional researchers who spend most of their time in archives, but for a family trying to research this is a needless barrier.

There is no ALIU index of mentions of Simon Bauer or his collection, so to find out what the investigators wrote about this collection one must look at all of the 20+ reports, most of which are still not available as searchable text files. 

Below are excerpts from the Final Report which mention the Bauer collection.
They include entrees on the following names:
  • Engrand (Lengrand?) - page 107 NARA Final Report 
  • Herel-Eudeline, Mlle Jeanne. NARA page 112 
  • Lefranc, Jean Francois, page NARA 116 
  • Louviot. page 118 NARA
  • Nesling. page 122 NARA
  • Ulimer. page 156 FOLD3
  • van der Meeren page 160 FOLD3
Below are the texts (from and the images (from NARA/Fold3):

From the "Final Report" page 107 NARA

"Engrand (Lengrand?). Paris, 124 ave Victor Hugo. Reported to have purchased from Lefranc a Pissarro from the Bauer collection." (see



From the Final Report, page 112

"Herel-Eudeline, Mlle Jeanne. Neuilly, 3 bis rue du General Delanne. Relative of Lefranc from whom she is reported to have purchased a dozen pictures from the Bauer collection."

 NARA Art Looting Investigation Unit: Final Report, 1940-1946.
Fold3 File #273355636, Image provided by Fold3. PAGE 112



From the Final Report, page 116 NARA

"Lefranc, Jean Francois. Paris, 9 quai Voltaire/26 ave du President Wilson. Leading collaborationist dealer. Vichy-appointed administrator of the Schloss Collection, and personally responsible for its liquidation; also for the liquidation of the Simon Bauer collection. Close contact of Lohse, Goepel and Postma. Informant and intermediary for other German buyers. Indicted by French Government (Seine Tribunal, Judge Frapier) and under arrest in Paris."



Louviot. Neuilly sur Seine. Reported to have bought several Bauer Collection pictures from Lefranc.

NARA Fold3 File #, Image provided by Fold3.




Nesling. Paris, 14 bis rue Jean Mermoz. Bought three Bauer Collection paintings from Lefranc. 
( Page 122
Fold3 File #273355660, Image provided by Fold3.


Ulimer. Amsterdam. Bought several Bauer collection paintings from Lefranc.



van der Meeren. Brussels. Client of Lefranc, from whom he bought objects confiscated from the Bauer collection.


Notes: If there are search functions that have been missed, please let me know and I will be happy to include them in an updated version of this post. 

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