Jewish collectors in Wroclaw - Jüdische Sammler in Breslau

There were Jewish collectors in Breslau in the Weimar Republic until the Nazis came to power. They played "the most important role" [1] in the art scene because it was they who began to bring the first works of modernism to the Silesian capital and to exhibit there. Jewish collectors from Wroclaw were particularly interested in the masterpieces that were presented by the leading galleries in Berlin and Paris, which, according to Marius Winzeler, made them one of the "great collectors in Germany" [2] . In 1923, Karl Scheffler paid extensive tribute to the Jewish collections in Breslau and emphasized their importance for Germany: [3]

“The Breslau collections are important to the city, and directly to the empire, not because they are a property that can be expressed numerically, but because they create intellectual tension and thereby become the preservers of what must be more important to us today than anything else . "

Also Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia emphasizes the value of Jewish collectors: "Jewish art collectors wurde the predominant promoter of new trends in art." [4] Jewish collectors were Ismar Littmann , Carl Sachs , Max Silberberg , Scotchman , David Friedmann , Leo Smoschewer , Emil Kaim , Hugo Kolker , Leo Lewin and Öttinger .

story

Jewish collectors and patrons in Wroclaw

First, Winzeler explains in general the Jewish patronage and collectors. Included early in Wroclaw "a surprising number of representatives of the emerging Jewish bourgeoisie" [5] to Breslauer arts and cultural scene, the "Silesian Society for patriotic culture" in the Jewish since the 1850s members "outstanding items" [5] taking . The society was also instrumental in founding the Wroclaw Museum of Fine Arts . [6] [7]

In 1905 Breslau had 470,904 inhabitants; among the so-called upper middle class, the proportion of Jews was more than a quarter. In the past 300 years, the proportion of the upper middle class among the Jews had developed much more strongly than among the rest of the population, according to Till van Rahden . [8] Werner Sombart describes that in 1905 the Breslau Jews were so business-minded that they alone could pay four times as much taxes as the rest of the population. Marius Winzeler also explains that the Jewish wholesale merchants in Wroclaw were so successful that they were able to generate an "above average share" [9] of the city's tax revenue in Wroclaw.

The Jewish collectors were distinguished by the fact that they saw themselves as globally and internationally active cosmopolitans and were interested in art. [10] Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia explains that during the Weimar Republic, Jewish art collectors in Wroclaw mainly bought and exhibited works of modern art. [11] Marius Winzeler describes that the Jewish collectors and patrons [12] played "the most important role" [1] for the Breslau art collections. The Jewish art collections found their way into the public museums in Wroclaw through municipal purchases and private donations.

From 1920 on, representatives of the upper Jewish bourgeoisie can be found in exposed places in many associations and boards of trustees. The "Society of Friends of Art" had existed since 1921, with a particular focus on contemporary and modern art. The paintings that were acquired by the company were later loaned to the Museum of Fine Arts in Breslau, where they set "essential accents" [13] . The Wroclaw Association "Jewish Museum" had existed since March 1928, under whose aegis Erwin Hintze organized the extremely successful exhibition "History of the Jews in Silesia" in the Wroclaw Museum of Applied Arts and Antiquities in 1929 .

The Jewish collector and patronage increased in the late 1920s and early 1930s and was only broken when the National Socialists came to power. [14]

Heinz Braune , who was director of the Silesian Museum of Fine Arts in Wroclaw from 1919 to 1928, knew how to interest Jewish art collectors living in Wroclaw in the museum. Several Jewish collectors in Wroclaw supported Braune with donations, according to the then Wroclaw City Theater Director Dr. Theodor Loewe with a second version of Bendemann's “Mourning Jews” and a female figure by Robert Bednorz. Braune received a Tyrolean mountain landscape from Joseph Anton Koch from Carl Sachs, as well as a landscape sketch by the Breslau artist Hermann Völkerling. In 1930 Ismar Littmann donated two valuable etchings to the Silesian Museum of Fine Arts in Breslau. [16] [17]In November 1931 and May 1932, Carl Sachs donated valuable pieces from his collection to the Museum of Fine Arts in Breslau, including works by Emil Nolde, Käthe Kollwitz and Max Liebermann, some of which were later confiscated as degenerate art. [18]

Wroclaw's Jewish art collectors were once again publicly discussed by various authors after “a long period of forgetting and concealment” [19] and also dealt with legally together with restitution cases and problems. [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30]

Protagonists of the Jewish collectors and patrons in Wroclaw

Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia mentions five Jewish collectors in Wroclaw:

“In this era, there were five major collectors of Jewish origin, who stand out from other active Breslau art enthusiasts due to the clearly profiled nature of their collections and their persistance in creating them. Leo Lewin, Carl Sachs, Max Silberberg and Ismar Littmann, as well as Leo Schmoschewer. All had different personalities but their main interests was modern art such as Impressionism and Expressionism.”[31]

Marius Winzeler also mentions Toni and Albert Neisser , Max Pinkus and Otto Ollendorff as “protagonists of Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau” [32] .

Ramona Bräu also mentions the Jewish collectors from Breslau, Schottländer , David Friedmann and Öttinger . [33]

According to Winzeler, the representations of Jewish art collections and collectors of Jewish origin that have already taken place are by no means complete. [34]

"Unfortunately, so far no detailed statements and information can be made about many of the traditional names from the Jewish culture and art scene in Wroclaw in the interwar period, which is why a comprehensive description of the collectors' and patronage is not yet possible"

- Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 137

Type of collector and patron

For the couple Neisser, the creation of the Villa Neisser as a "cultural [s] center [...]" ' [35] was the focus of their work as well as the "establishment of a cultural memorial". [35] This was not the case with collectors Lewin, Sachs and Silberberg. The private enjoyment of art and the collection of works of art by leading contemporary artists represented a balance to their work. The selection of works of art was an expression of their “self-image as modern cosmopolitans”. [2] They were particularly interested in the masterpieces presented by the leading galleries in Berlin and Paris. This made them one of the "great collectors in Germany" [2]one. Karl Scheffler paid detailed tribute to the three collections (Lewin, Sachs and Silberberg) in 1923 and said:

“The Breslau collections are important to the city, and directly to the empire, not because they are a property that can be expressed numerically, but because they create intellectual tension and thereby become the preservers of what must be more important to us today than anything else "

- Karl Scheffler: Breslau Art Life. In: Art and Artists. 1923, p. 133.

Jewish collectors in Wroclaw during the National Socialist era (from 1933)

After the seizure of power, the cultural sector was brought into line. Erich Wiese - Heinz Braune's successor as museum director - was a representative of modern art and was therefore dismissed by the National Socialists on June 23, 1933. It was not until 1934 that the National Socialists found the art historian Cornelius Müller-Hofstede , who became the museum director and "played a decisive role in the exploitation of formerly Jewish art" [36]business. In 1933 the Jewish members were removed from the lists of the Wroclaw Museum's board of trustees and dismissed from the board of the Kunstfreunde. After Jewish companies were Aryanized and many were also banned from working, the Jewish bourgeoisie lost their livelihoods and Jewish art patrons were deported, had to emigrate or died a short time later. Max Pinkus died in June 1934. Ismar Littmann committed suicide in October 1934, Leo Smoschewer died in 1938 and his wife committed suicide in May 1939. Max Silberberg was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942 and later to Auschwitz concentration camp, where he perished.

Aryanization of Jewish art collections

After the Jewish art collectors had died, deported or emigrated, the "recycling" [37] of the remaining and confiscated Jewish art collections could now begin. Cornelius Müller-Hofstede and his colleague Sigfried Asche were active as exploiters of Jewish art. They wanted to bring Jewish collections to the two most important Silesian museums in Breslau and Görlitz. The employees of the Museum of Fine Arts in Wroclaw examined the Sachs, Silberberg and Smoschewer collections for art holdings of interest to the museum and compiled an overview of the pieces under consideration, and compiled a list of 84 works of art from the Sachs, Silberberg and Schmoschewer collections .[33]

In 1935, due to political and economic constraints, Leo Lewin was forced to sell his collection to Max Perl in Berlin. [38] [39]

The District President of Breslau presented a total of eleven works of art from the Sachs collection to the Silesian Museum of Fine Arts in July 1940, including by Schuch, Slevogt, Thoma and Teniers worth 14,900 Reichsmarks from the Sachs collection. [40]

In addition to the Jewish collections of Friedmann and Sachs , the Silberberg collection was of “particular interest” to museums and the city government. [33]On January 30, 1940, Silberberg was forced to transfer his immense art treasure to the Breslau-Süd tax office because he had previously been accused of tax evasion after the property declaration of his works of art. In addition, he had to hand over all sales proceeds to the local tax office. After the Silberberg collection was taxed by the Breslau-Süd tax office, the District President of Breslau wrote in a letter dated February 1, 1940, asking the Breslau-South tax office to wait until Dr. Barthel or Dr. Gindel was given the opportunity to comment by the Museum of Applied Arts and Antiquities. At that time, a large part of Silberberg's art treasure was in the warehouse of the Museum of Fine Arts in Wroclaw.[40] The Aryanization Commissioner, Government Councilor von Natzmer expressed his wish to the museum director Müller-Hofstede to buy a small bronze from the Jewish art collection. The museum then waived its right of first refusal and left the valuable sculptures from Jewish property to the Aryanization Commissioner. On July 5, 1941, Müller-Hofstede wrote to the Breslau government, trying to get the more valuable part of the Jewish art treasure to the Museum of Fine Arts in Breslau free of charge. However, on March 26, 1942, the regional finance president of Lower Silesia successfully appealed to the regional president of Breslau.

Ferdinand Hodler: Stockhorn chain with Lake Thun

The Wilhelm Perlhöfter collection attracted “often enough visits from museum directors and art dealers”. [41]

Wilhelm Perhöfter's wholesale business in colonial goods ( Hummerei No. 28) was Aryanized on April 2, 1938 [42] and Wilhelm was brought to Buchenwald concentration camp immediately after the November pogrom in 1938 .

As part of the dissolution of the household, the family approached Professor Hertel (head of the Kunstkammer for Silesia) and hoped to obtain an export permit for the art collection. Helene Perlhöfter reported that “Professor Hertel himself [was] a glass specialist and [knew] our collection very well. He demanded that the museum directors should first be given the opportunity to choose suitable pieces from the collection. The museum directors also came to us and selected a number of pieces that were of interest to them. For all the rest we received [...] a certificate stating that it was not of interest for German cultural purposes ”. [41]

The Perlhöfters was expatriated on July 16, 1941 and their assets fell to the Reich. The family's lifts were confiscated by the Bremen Gestapo and some of the removal goods and the art collection were auctioned. The auction proceeds of 9,421.92 Reichsmarks were later transferred from the Bremen-Ost finance office to the Breslau Oberfinanzkasse.

Remaining of the art collections and restitution to the heirs in the post-war period (from 1945)

Today's National Museum in Wroclaw ( Polish: Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu ) has hardly any evidence that reminds of the donations and the "Jewish patronage of the interwar period" [43] . [44]

The Wroclaw art collections were brought to the National Museum in Warsaw in the post-war period. Much of the donations to the Wroclaw Museum of Fine Arts from the interwar period are now in the National Museum in Warsaw. For example, 10 drawings [45] and 105 prints from the donation of Carl Sachs [46] or the painting by Carl Schuch, which Silberberg dedicated to the museum in 1920 and which was forcibly transferred in 1939. Works that Müller Hofstede took over from the expropriated residual collections of Kaim, Sachs, Silberberg and Schmoschewer are stored in the depots of the Warsaw Museum.

In countless museums and private collections in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Israel and the USA, works have been found that formerly belonged to "Jewish Breslau collectors" [47] and had been taken away from them.

“But all this knowledge allows only a weak idea of ​​the abundance and quality that made up the high rank of the Wroclaw collections. [48] "

Individual works from the Sachs, Silberberg, Smoschever and Littmann collections have been restituted. The municipal collections in Görlitz restituted seven works of art to the heirs of the previous owners Sachs, Smoschewer and Ollendorff ( woman with lilies in the greenhouse) back. Also three objects that had belonged to Max Pinkus. The other paintings, sculptures and works of the visual arts, verifiably from Jewish possession, had not returned from their relocations, which had meanwhile become Polish, in the post-war period. They were taken to other collection points by the Polish authorities together with the rest of the goods - 80% of the Görlitz collection had been moved from. The most important Jewish art objects in Wroclaw ended up in state museums in Warsaw, Cracow and others. Other paintings later appeared in the art trade and changed hands. In the 1990s, for example, the painting from the Carl Sachs collection, the female portrait created by Wilhelm Trübner in 1874, was offered in a Berlin gallery.

Restitution has already been disputed in various cases. [49]

literature

  • Annerose Klammt, Marius Winzeler: "Modern German art had to be brought to bear" - To acquire works of art from Jewish property for the art collections in Görlitz. In: Ulf Häder (Ed.): Contributions by public institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany on dealing with cultural goods from former Jewish property. Magdeburg 2001, ISBN 3-00-008868-7 , pp. 119-141.
  • Marius Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Wroclaw - from donation to "exploitation" of their art possessions. In: Andrea Baresel-Brand, Peter Müller (Red.): Collect. Pens. Promote. Jewish patrons in German society. Coordination Office for the Loss of Cultural Property, Magdeburg 2006, ISBN 3-9811367-3-X , pp. 131–150.
  • Ramona Bräu : “Aryanization” in Breslau - The “De-Judaization” of a German city and its discovery in the Polish memory discourse. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-5958-7 , pp. 77ff. (3.4.2 The large Jewish art collections in Silesia - art theft.)
  • Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia : The participation of Wrocław Jews in the artistic and cultural life of the city from the emancipation to 1933. Neriton Publishing House, Warsaw 2008, ISBN 978-83-7543-041-7 . (abstract)
  • Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia: Jewish art collectors from Breslau and their impact on the citys cultural life at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. In: Annette Weber (ed.): Jewish collectors and their contribution to the culture of modernity. Winter, Heidelberg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8253-5907-2 , pp. 237-253.

Individual evidence

  1. a b Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 131: “Among them, Jewish collectors and patrons played the most important role [...] It was they who began ... to bring the first modern works to Silesia and the public to present in exhibitions ... "
  2. a b c Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 139.
  3. ^ Karl Scheffler: Breslauer Kunstleben. In: Art and Artists. 1923, p. 133.
  4. Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia: Jewish art collectors from Breslau … 2011, S. 242 f.
  5. a b Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 135.
  6. ^ Piotr Łukasiewicz (ed.): Silesian Museum of Fine Arts. In: Piotr Łukasiewicz : Art museums in old Wroclaw. Wrocław 1998, p. 74.
  7. ^ Till van Rahden : Jews and other Breslauers. The relations between Jews, Protestants and Catholics in a large German city from 1860 to 1925 (= critical studies on historical science . Volume 139). Göttingen 2000, p. 107.
  8. ^ Till van Rahden : Jews and other Breslauers. The relations between Jews, Protestants and Catholics in a large German city from 1860 to 1925 (= critical studies on historical science . Volume 139). Göttingen 2000, p. 54.
  9. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 136.
  10. Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 132: "What was remarkable was the decidedly international claim that speaks for the cosmopolitanism of these protagonists ...".
  11. “Jewish art collectors became the predominant promoters of new trends in art, and, paradoxically, promoters of a more liberal and partly anti-bourgeois culture. Modern art became not so much a form of investment in social status, but a subject of interest for connoisseurs. In this case, it is possible to refer to them as the real art lovers, or even art fanatics, who actively participated in promoting artistic associated with the avant-garde…”

    - Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia : Jewish art collectors from Breslau ... 2011, p. 242 f
  12. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 135.
  13. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 137.
  14. Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 144: “... the patronage work of the Jewish art collectors in Breslau [had] reached a high point in the late 1920s and early 1930s ... it seemed beyond doubt that these patrons would you Even wanted to intensify the work ”.
  15. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau… 2006, p. 134 f.
  16. Ramona Bräu: "Aryanization" in Breslau. The “de-Jewification” of a German city and its discovery in the Polish memory discourse. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-5958-7 , p. 77. (3.4.2 The large Jewish art collections in Silesia - art theft).
  17. Anja Heuss: The fate of Ismar Littmann's Jewish art collection. A new case of art theft poses fundamental women. In: NZZ of August 17, 1998, No. 188.
  18. Ramona Bräu: "Aryanization" in Breslau. The “de-Jewification” of a German city and its discovery in the Polish memory discourse. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-5958-7 , p. 77 f. (3.4.2 The large Jewish art collections in Silesia - art theft).
  19. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 132.
  20. Anja Heuss : The fate of Ismar Littmann's Jewish art collection. A new case of art theft raises fundamental questions. In: NZZ. August 17, 1998.
    Anja Heuss : The Max Silberberg Collection. In: Andrea Pophanken, Felix Billeter (Ed.): The modern age and their collectors. French art in German private ownership from the Empire to the Weimar Republic. Berlin 2001, pp. 311-325.
  21. Hans-Joachim Hinz: Looted art in Görlitz and the plunder of Jewish collections in Breslau. Görlitz 1999.
  22. Monika Tatzkow , Hans-Joachim Hinz : Citizens, victims and historical justice. The fate of Jewish art collectors in Wroclaw. In: Eastern Europe. 56 (2006), pp. 155-171.
  23. Piotr Łukasiewicz (ed.): Art museums in old Breslau . Wroclaw 1998.
  24. Petra Hölscher : Breslau around the turn of the century: artists, galleries, art collectors and artist circles. In: Jerzy Ilkosz, Beater Störtkuhl (ed.): Hans Poelzig in Breslau. Architecture and Art 1900–1916 . Delmenhorst 2000, p. 19.
    Petra Hölscher: The Academy for Arts and Crafts in Breslau. Paths to an art school 1791–1932. Kiel 2003.
  25. ^ Johanna Brade (ed.): Workshops of the modern. Teacher and pupil of the Breslau Academy 1903–1932. (Exhibition catalog Görlitz), Halle (Saale) 2004.
  26. Karol Jonca : History of the Jews in Silesia in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hanover 1995.
  27. ^ Maciej Łagiewski : Breslauer Juden 1850–1944. Historical Museum, Wrocław 1996, ISBN 83-905227-1-3 .
  28. Andreas Reinke : Judaism and welfare. The Jewish Hospital in Wroclaw 17-19. Hanover 1998.
  29. ^ Till van Rahden : Jews and other Breslauers. The relations between Jews, Protestants and Catholics in a large German city from 1860 to 1925 (= critical studies on historical science . Volume 139). Göttingen 2000.
  30. Leszek Ziątkowski : The history of Jews in Wroclaw. Wroclaw 2000.
  31. Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia: Jewish art collectors from Breslau … 2011, S. 243.
  32. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 137.
  33. ^ A b c Ramona Bräu: "Aryanization" in Breslau. The “de-Jewification” of a German city and its discovery in the Polish memory discourse. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-5958-7 , p. 79 (3.4.2 The large Jewish art collections in Silesia - art theft).
  34. Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 132: "Nevertheless, the history of Jewish patrons in Breslau still needs further research so that it can be better appreciated and weighted in the pan-German and European context ...".
  35. a b Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 138.
  36. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 145.
  37. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 147.
  38. Magdalena Palica : From Delacroix to van Gogh. Jewish art collections in former Wrocław , Wrocław 2010.
  39. “… due to political and economic strains, he was fored to sell the rest of it to Max Perl …”

    - Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia: Jewish art collectors from Breslau… 2011, p. 246
  40. a b Ramona Bräu: “Aryanization” in Breslau. The “de-Jewification” of a German city and its discovery in the Polish memory discourse. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-5958-7 , p. 80 (3.4.2 The large Jewish art collections in Silesia - art theft.)
  41. a b Ramona Bräu: “Aryanization” in Breslau. The “de-Jewification” of a German city and its discovery in the Polish memory discourse. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-5958-7 , p. 81 (3.4.2 The large Jewish art collections in Silesia - art theft).
  42. Ramona Bräu: "Aryanization" in Breslau - The "De-Judaization" of a German city and its discovery in the Polish memory discourse. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-5958-7 , p. 125 (Appendix A: Tables - Table A.1: “Aryanized” business enterprises in Breslau).
  43. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 148.
  44. Vgl. den Bestandskatalog: Mariusz Hermansdorfer : Art of the 20th century. Works by foreign artists. Publishing house: National Museum in Wrocław , Wrocław 2002.
  45. | Anna Kozak: Masters of German Drawing, from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century, from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw. Warschau 1990.
  46. ^ Ewa Frąckowiak: Author's engravings from the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century from the collection of Carl Sachs. In: From the history of drawing and graphics in Silesia and in collections and collections related to Silesia. edited by Bogusław Czechowicz, Arkadiusz Dobrzyniecki, Izabela Żak, Wrocław 1999, pp. 203–214, insb. 206.
  47. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 148.
  48. ^ Winzeler: Jewish collectors and patrons in Breslau ... 2006, p. 148.
  49. ^ Restitution report 2001/2002 - Federal Ministry for Education Leo and Elise Smoschewer: from the Austrian Gallery Belvedere. Max Slevogt: "Conrad Ansorge at the piano", 1912. 60.5 x 81 cm. Inv. No. 3794 (PDF; 64 kB); Resolution of November 21, 2008 by the Austrian Art Restitution Advisory Board (PDF; 24 kB); Gabriele Anderl: … significantly more cases than assumed. 10 years Commission for Provenance Research. Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 2009 ( excerpts online from Google Books ).