Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
Tammy’s views are her own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Eagle, his pastor, Tammy’s neighbors, Wayne Mayo, Betsy Johnson, Joe Corsiglia, President Trump, Henry Heimuller, VP Pence, Pat Robertson, Debi Corsiglia’s dog, or Claudia Eagle’s Cats. This Tammy’s Take (with the exception of this disclaimer) is not paid for or written by, or even reviewed by anyone but Tammy and she refuses to be bullied by anyone.
See Standard Disclaimer.
NAZI ART THEFT
Adolf Hitler and his deputy Hermann Göring raced one another to steal artworks. Goring “collected” a private gallery of thousands of stolen masterpieces, displayed in a hunting lodge outside of Berlin as an enormous shrine to his deceased wife, while Hitler ordered art stolen both for his personal enjoyment and to fill his planned “super museum,” a conversion of an entire city in Austria to contain every important artwork in the world.
Hitler had grand plans- his boyhood town of Linz would be leveled and rebuilt, with masterpieces like The Ghent Altarpiece and the Mona Lisa as centerpieces in this definitive collection. It would even feature a gallery of horrors, a wing dedicated to “degenerate” art that did not meet the Nazi standards of racial purity of artist and subject matter. This wing would show the world from which the Nazis had saved humanity.
The Allies only became aware of the true, methodical extent of Nazi art theft in 1943. They knew of the infamous “degenerate” art exhibition that had toured Nazi-controlled Germany before the war, curated in such a way as to show the “inferiority” of these abstract contemporary works. They knew of the fire-sale of art seized from German citizens before the war, and sold at an auction at the Galerie Fischer in Lucerne—many of these works were bought by American and English collectors, whose desire to add to their collections, not knowing that they were helping finance Nazi armaments.
A toothache brought American soldiers Lincoln Kirstein (who would found New York City Ballet with George Balanchine after the war) and Robert Posey to a dentist near Trier, Germany. The dentist’s son-in-law, who was hiding in a cottage in the forest, was SS officer Hermann Bunjes, former art adviser to Göring. Kirstein and Posey tracked down Bunjes, and, assuming that they already knew of the Linz super museum, revealed to them the ERR’s systematic looting of Europe’s art collections.
The Allied sprang into action to save these precious items. The Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program under the Civil Affairs and Military Government Sections of the Allied armies was established in 1943, and the 400 service members in the MFAA were mostly art historians and museum personnel who were known as Monuments Men.
The Monuments Men accompanied the Allied armies to locate at-risk art and monuments that may be damaged or stolen in the chaos of war, and then preserve them as best they could in the field. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower said we will be fighting to preserve our civilization, and these treasures and monuments signify what we are fighting for.
The Nazi’s stole tens of thousands of masterpieces, stripping entire museums. Many were stored in secret underground storage facilities, like the salt mine that was converted into a hi-tech art warehouse in the Austrian Alps at Alt Aussee, which contained 12,000 of the most important works that were destined for Hitler’s Linz museum.
The Monument Men led detective-work searches for hidden and stolen art, and followed just behind the front lines, trying to secure monuments that were damaged, like the Ponte Santa Trinita (Holy Trinity Bridge in Italian) in Florence, blown up by retreating Nazis to slow the advance of the Allies, the fire-bombed monastery of Monte Cassino, and the bomb-shattered Camposanto in Pisa. The MM saved Italy's art.
Hitler’s statement that “Florence is too beautiful a city to destroy, but ordered huge swaths of the city to be ruined. Monte Cassino is a sad event. Allies spent weeks trying to extract entrenched Germans whom they believed to have been hiding in the ancient cliff-top monastery. Dozens of ground offensives failed to make headway, as German snipers cut down Allied assaults. The weighty decision was finally made to send in an airstrike that would drive them out, but also pulverize the 1,400-year-old monastery. Allied bombers dropped 1,400 tons of bombs, decimating the monastery that had been founded in 529 by Saint Benedict, shattering the frescoed walls and destroying the masterpieces stored there—only to learn afterward that the Germans were not in the monastery.
German paratroopers took up defensive positions in “the saw-toothed ruins” that resulted from the Allied air attack, and the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944 raged on from January until May. Edsel writes, “When the cost of ‘victory’ was calculated, the numbers did resemble the ghastly battles of World War I: fifty-five thousand Allied casualties, and some twenty thousand dead and wounded Germans.” Of its once rich art and architecture, little remained.
Over $1.35 billion in Nazi art found hidden behind 'mountains of rotting food
Over 1,500 paintings previously thought destroyed in World War II have been found in Germany after officials followed up on a hunch. There was a man named Gurlitt,- Gurlitt lived in Germany and was odd and was suspicious, after investigating this man they found that he had no was not registered with the police, tax authorities, or social services — mandatory in Germany — and also held neither a pension nor health insurance.
n 2011 officials searched Gurlitt's home, reportedly a squalid budget apartment in the Munich suburbs. Behind "mountains of rotting food and decades-old tin cans" lay a collection of artworks thought to be worth over $1.35 billion, including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, and Renoir.
The collection apparently came from Gurlitt's father, Hildebrandt, who was an art historian when the Nazis seized power in the '30s. He reportedly acquired hundreds of paintings sold for virtually nothing by Jews attempting to escape Nazi rule, while others are believed to have been seized outright. Many of the works were deemed as "degenerative" by the Nazis and were thought to have been destroyed.
During World War II, the Nazis looted some 600,000 paintings from Jews, at least 100,000 of which are still missing today.
Why did Germany steal art?
When the Nazis banned the exportation of paper money, wealthy émigrés began to turn their investments into art. Because the Nazis lacked a useable foreign currency, artworks were often used as an alternative to money. As late as 1939, art could be taken out of Germany only as personal property.
What did the Nazis call degenerate art?
Degenerate art. Degenerate art, German Entartete Kunst, term used by the Nazi Party in Germany to describe art that did not support the ideals of Nazism. It was also the title of a propagandistically designed Nazi exhibition of modern art held in Munich in 1937.
What happened to degenerate art?
Degenerate art. All modern art was considered 'degenerate' by the National Socialist (Nazi) party. ... In 1937, German museums were purged of modern art by the government, a total of some 15,550 works being removed.
Which artists were included in the Degenerate Art exhibition?
The Degenerate Art Exhibition included 650 paintings, sculptures and prints by 112 artists, primarily German: Georg Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Georg Kolbe, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Franz Marc, Emil Nolde, Otto Dix, Willi Baumeister, Kurt Schwitters and others. Some art work was lost for eternity because of Nazi destruction..
All monuments from all civilizations are important and beautiful. We need to preserve all pieces of art work for future generations. Thankfully the Allies beat Hitler and the Nazi’s or we would be living in a suppressed society which only allows one way of thinking.