A comprehensive list of senior Nazi official Hermann Goering’s collection of confiscated art has been made public for the first time.
The handwritten catalogue details more than 1000 works of art stolen primarily from Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe. It lists masterpieces that range from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, including paintings by Botticelli, Durer, Van Gogh, Velasquez, Renoir and Monet, along with 250 sculptures and 168 tapestries.
Published by the French company Flammarion, the list reveals the scale of the thefts committed by the Nazis throughout Europe, and includes the collection that it was taken from. It is hoped that the publication will assist the efforts at restitution.
The document was first uncovered by Rose Valland, who, alongside the Monuments Men, after the war helped to identify and recover more than 45,000 looted works of art, taken during the second world war. It has been kept in the archives of the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, and only available to scholars.
The historian Jean-Marc Dreyfus, who wrote an introduction to the book, said: “This is the first time that we have the complete catalogue. My colleagues in other countries tried to reconstitute the list of works in this extraordinary collection, but there was uncertainty over 300 to 400 works because we didn’t have this catalogue.”
In the preface, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius writes that “the Goering Collection, put together out of a sense of nationalism, aimed to extol the purity and grandeur of German art. It is an abhorrent hunting trophy, the result of the criminal plundering of the treasures of European art. Works of art should never be treated as objects of prey. They are the common property of all mankind.”