Showing posts with label Bruno Lohse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bruno Lohse. Show all posts

Jun 22, 2021

Bruno Lohse Nazi Art Looter Transcription of ALIU Detailed Interrogation Report NARA RG239 DIR 6

The text below is a transcription of a document in the National Archives concerning Nazi art looting that was declassified in 1975. It concerns the notorious Nazi art looter, Bruno Lohse. This Detailed Interrogation Report was written by Monuments Man and OSS Art Looting Investigation Unit member James S. Plaut in 1945. It detailed the interrogation of Nazi art looter Bruno Lohse conducted from June 15, 1945 to August 15, 1945.

NARA : copy of transcription D. I. R. # 6 - Bruno Lohse, 1945-1946 

A photocopy of the Detailed Interrogation Report Number 6 can be downloaded here: Download PDF

The text, transcribed in a digital searchable text, is below

May 20, 2021

Readings in Nazi looted art: The Rape of Europa by Lynn Nicholas

Published in 1995, Lynn Nicholas' book The Rape of Europa was one of the first to investigate Hitler's massive looting of artworks. Many archives have opened since then and progress with digitization of source documents as well as and museum collections databases following the Washington Declaration have made new material available. 
It is nevertheless interesting to reread Nicholas' book for its insights, especially since the book was published nearly twenty years before the Gurlitt stash was discovered.

Below are a couple of brief extracts.

 "Voss would now channel his purchase funds, which would surpass those spent by Posse, through his own trusted agents, principal among whom was Hildebrand Gurlitt..."

- The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas

"Despite their disgust the OSS and MFAA men were human. Craig Smyth, who later had to supervise the house arrest of Hermann Voss, found it difficult to treat so eminent a scholar as a criminal and had him report daily to someone else. Monuments officer Charles Parkhurst, sent to question the widow of Hans Posse, whom he found living on the proceeds of sales of the pathetic contents of two suitcases of family bibelots, described her as a “gentle, elderly person” and broke off his interrogation when she began to weep. In the few answers she did provide it was clear that she was very proud of her husband’s accomplishments. She even showed Parkhurst photographs of Hitler at Posse’s state funeral, but of his actual transactions she clearly knew nothing."

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas

 "Plaut doubted that Bruno Lohse had really known the extent of Goering’s evildoing and noted that both he and Fräulein Limberger had become despondent when all was revealed. Rousseau and Faison too, after weeks of questioning Miss Limberger, were convinced that despite the fact that she had read the damning daily correspondence from Hofer to Goering, she bore no blame. When they had finished with her, Faison could not bring himself to leave her at the squalid internment camp to which she had been assigned and instead asked her where she would like to go. She named the Munich dealer Walter Bornheim, he of the suitcases full of francs, and a principal supplier to both Linz and Goering. Faison consented, and left her at the military post in Gräfelfing, where Bornheim lived."

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas

 available on Amazon 

Dec 31, 2018

Networks of Bruno Lohse

ALIU rendered as networks: Lohse and Loebl Red Flag Names

Is there an easy way to view looted art networks? Above is what the Red Flag Names that mention Dr. Bruno Lohse and/or Allen (Ali) Loebl look like.

One sees that several people - Manon Loebl, Dr. Hans Wendland, F Mestalet, Pierry Landry and Victor Mandl have direct links to both Dr Bruno Lohse and to Allen (Ali) Loebl.

This chart indicates merely that the Art Looting Investigation Unit described some kind of relationship. It does not tell us the nature of the relationship (although this information is in the original ALIU Red List data.) The ALIU Red Flag Name list says that Manon Loebl and Allen Loebl are brothers, but the viewer cannot see this on the chart.

Below is the network of direct connections between Red Flag Names and Walter Andreas Hofer.

What happens if we combine them?

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."


Nov 18, 2018

Allen Loebl

"LOEBL was LOHSE's adviser and intermediary in a substantial number of transactions, and "spotted" pictures for him"

Who Was Allen Loebl? (Also: Ali Loebl) What was his role at Galerie Kleinberger in Paris? What was his relationship with Harry G. Sperling at F. Kleinberger & Co. in New York? What were his relations with the Nazi and SS ERR art looter Bruno Lohse? Why did he appear so many times on the Art Looting Investigation Unit Red Flag list?