Dec 27, 2018

Hermann Voss

Visualising the networks of Herman Voss 
(data source: Art Looting Investigation Unit Final Report List of Red Flag Names 1946)

In the fall of 1945, the Office of Strategic Services Art Looting 
Investigation Unit interrogated Dr. Hermann Voss.

Voss had been the Director of the Dresden museum, the Director of Hitler's planned Linz museum and the head of the Linz Special Commission, which rounded up artworks for Hitler.

Hermann Voss: Art Looting Investigation Unit Detailed Interrogation Report Number 12 September 15, 1945

Despite concluding that Voss was the "official chiefly responsible for Hitler’s looting and purchasing policies after 1945" and notes that "VOSS' character is vacillating, and that he is an extraordinarily conceited and ambitious man" , the investigators seemed to hold a surprisingly tolerant view of this art professional. "His anti-Nazi options were well known," DIR No. 12 states.

"Among those who have testified to this effect, under specific interrogations, are LOHSE and BORCHERS (both of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg staff), and the dealers Wolfgang GURLITT, Hildebrandt GURLITT, and HABERSTOCK (chief dealer to POSSE and an enemy of long standing to VOSS.)

These character testimonies leave one a little breathless. 

Bruno LOHSE? Hildebrandt GURLITT? Karl HABERSTOCK? 

What does it mean to find the name H. Voss, Herman Voss, Hermann Voss, or Dr Hermann Voss in a provenance or in a bibliographical reference for an artwork?

"Concerning the Einsatzstab Rosenberg, VOSS repeatedly denied ever having heard of it before March 1943..."
 - OSS ALIU DIR 12 Hermann Voss

 Voss was arrested and interrogated by the Office of Strategic Services Art Looting Investigation Unit for his role in looting art for Hitler during the Nazi era. 

"Hermann Voss insisted that the offer came to him entirely as a surprise" 

"When he met HITLER at Rastenberg..."

Voss appears in the Art Looting Investigation Unit Red Flag List 19 times and had a Detailed Interrogation Report (DIR number 12) dedicated to him: 

(Detailed Intelligence Reports (DIR): consist of reports dealing with the activities of various agents employed by Hitler, Göring and Rosenberg to acquire artworks for them in Axis-occupied countries.)

The ALIU Final Report of 1946 summarized VOSS' activities as follows:

"Voss, Dr Hermann. Munich. Director of the Linz Special Commission, the Linz Museum, and the Dresden Gallery from May 1943. Involved in the Schloss and Mannheimer collection (forced) sales, and the official chiefly responsible for Hitler’s looting and purchasing policies after 1945. In custody US 3rd Army, Munich, September 1945."
"Purchases for Linz outside Germany were made by VOSS' specially appointed agents,...Hildebrandt GURLITT, GOEPEL, and HERBST (of the Dorotheum, Vienna) were the most important"

The ALIU Final Report of 1946 linked VOSS to the following art dealers and Nazi personal:

Posse, Prof Dr Hans (deceased). Formerly Director of the State Picture Gallery, Dresden. Was appointed by Hitler as Director of the Special Commission for Linz in 1939, and became the most important official purchaser of works of art for Germany from 1939 through 1942. Died Dresden, 7 December 1942. Succeeded by Voss.

Goepel, Dr Erhard. Leipzig, Stieghtstrasse 76. Official Linz agent and buyer in Holland under Posse and Voss. Bought extensively in Holland and also travelled frequently in Belgium and France. Negotiated the forced sale of the Schloss Collection in Paris. Chief contacts: Vitale Bloch (Holland), Wuester, Wandl and Holzapfel (Paris).

Hoogendijk. Amsterdam, Kaizersgracht 640/Roemorvischerstraat 34. Prominent dealer who sold to Miedl, Hofer, Posse, Muehlmann and Voss during the occupation. Close friend of Friedlander and Schneider. Contact of Nathan Katz. Goering frequently visited his shop.

Mandl, Victor. Paris, 9 rue du Boetie. German refugee dealer, formerly active in Berlin. Highly important figure in German art purchases in Paris. Close contact of Wendland, Dietrich, Voss, Goepel, Muehlmann, Lohse, Loebl, Perdoux, Birtschansky and Wuester. Indicted by French Government for collaborationist activity.

de Boer, Pitt. Amsterdam, Heerengracht 512. Important and active dealer. President of the Dutch Dealers Association since Goudstikker’s death. Acquired Swiss as well as Dutch nationality early in the war, and visited Switzerland during the occupation. Discovered the first in the series of false Vermeers by van Meegeren. Close contact of Hofer, Muehlmann, Posse, Voss, Lohse and Miedl.

Oertel, Dr Rudolf (deceased). Assistant in charge of paintings for the Linz Special Commission. Between the death of Posse in December 1942 and the succession of Voss in March 1943, he shared with Reimer the administration of the Commission. Called to military service in 1944 on the Russian front, and not heard of since.

Grosshennig. Chemnitz, Rossmarkt 11 Annaberg (?). Director of Galerio Gerstenberger. Active as buyer in France. Held Linz certificate signed by Voss. In touch with Postma, Fabiani, Mandl, Boehler and Plietzsch.

Gurlitt, Wolfgang. Bad Aussee, Austria. Cousin of Hildebrandt Gurlitt. Former Berlin dealer. Close contact of Voss. Not seriously implicated in looting transactinos or purchases for German officials.

Pat-Zaade, Dr Robert. Berlin/Zehlendorf. Collector-dealer, active in Paris and Berlin. Sold to Lohse and in contact with Voss.

Reimer, Dr Gottfried. Dobeln, Saxony, Grimaisschestrasse 23. Administrative assistant to the Director of the Linz Commission from June 1941 until the end of the war, first under Posse, later under Voss. Not a Party member, and involved in only one known looting operation.

Schilling, Georg. Zurich, Spuelgenstrasse 6 Cologne, Komoedienstrasse 39 Markelfingen/Bodensee. Art dealer. Chief buyer for Linz in Belgium under Voss, who gave him a Linz certificate. Also active as agent for Goering.

Waldner, Josef. Art dealer, employed occasionally as agent by Voss. Contact of Mohnen. Active in France.

Weber, Walter. Bonn. Wealthy collector and close friend of Voss. Held a Linz travel certificate. Purchased six minor pictures in Paris for Linz.

Zinckgraf. Formerly bookkeeper and manager of the Bernheimer Gallery, Munich. Later became its owner. Sold to Voss for Wiesbaden.

Schmidt, Ernst. Berlin. Friend of Voss, active in acquiring objects for Linz in Germany.

"Voss complains of the abruptness of his reception..."
OSS ALIU DIR 12: Hermann Voss
"the part played by Hermann VOSS in HITLER's scheme of things in not altogether clear."
"During a month of interrogation, he (VOSS) impressed his several questioners very unfavourable. It was their unanimous opinion that VOSS' character is vacillating, and that he is an extraordinarily conceited and ambitious man. His constant reliance on failure of memory to explain discrepancies in his testimony did not improve the atmosphere of the interrogations."


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