Führermuseum

Führermuseum

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{{foreignchar|Fuehrermuseum|ü}} {{Italic title}} The '''''Führermuseum''''' ([[English language|English]], '''[[Führer]] museum''') was an unrealized [[museum]] complex planned by [[Adolf Hitler]] for the [[Austria]]n city of [[Linz]] to display the collection of art [[Nazi plunder|plundered]] or purchased by the [[Nazi]]s throughout [[Europe]] during [[World War II]]. ==Design== The plans for the Linz complex designed by [[Albert Speer]] and other architects included a monumental theatre, an opera house and an Adolf Hitler Hotel, all surrounded by huge boulevards and a parade ground. A library would house at least 250,000 books; the museum itself would have a colonnaded façade about 500 feet (150 meters) long, in the design paralleling that of the ''[[Haus der Deutsche Kunst]]'' already erected in [[Munich]]. It would stand on the site of the Linz railroad station, which was to be moved four kilometers to the south. ==Collection== On 21 June 1939, Hitler set up the ''Sonderauftrag Linz'' (Special Commission: Linz) in [[Dresden]] and appointed Dr [[Hans Posse]], director of the ''[[Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister]]'' (Dresden picture gallery), as special envoy. The ''Sonderauftrag'' collected art for the ''Führermuseum'', which Hitler wanted to build in Linz, his hometown in Upper Austria, and for other museums in the German Reich, especially in the eastern territories. The artworks would have been distributed to these museums after the war. The ''Sonderauftrag'' was located in Dresden and consisted of art historians in service of the Dresden Gallery of Paintings, e.g. Robert Oertel and Gottfried Reimer. Posse died in December 1942 of cancer. In March 1943, [[Hermann Voss]], an art historian and director of the [[Wiesbaden]] Gallery took over the Sonderauftrag Linz. The methods of acquisition ranged from confiscation to purchase and includes many cases of forced sale, using funds from sales of Hitler's book ''[[Mein Kampf]]'' and stamps showing his portrait. The purchases were mostly stored in the ''Führerbau'' (Hitler's office building) in [[Munich]]; the confiscated artworks were stored in deposits in Upper Austria. Since February 1944, the art works were moved to the salt mines of [[Altaussee]] to protect them from increased bombing. Detailed records of the collection were kept at Dresden and moved to [[Schloß Weesenstein]] at the end of the war, where they were confiscated by the Russians. In 2008, the German Historic Museum of Berlin published a [http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/linzdb/indexe.html database] with paintings collected for the ''Führermuseum'' and for other museums in the German Reich. But the most important historical and visual sources relating to the gallery of the "Führermuseum" are photo albums, which were created by the ''Sonderauftrag'' between autumn 1940 and autumn 1944. They were presented to Hitler every Christmas and on his birthday, 20 April. Originally thirty-one volumes existed, but only nineteen have been preserved. The album are documents of the intended gallery holdings, the first 20 volumes show the gallery in a provisional state finished. There is some debate about whether art for the ''Führermuseum'' was stolen or purchased. [[Hanns Christian Löhr]] argues in "The Brown House of Art" that only a small portion of the collection – possibly 12 percent – came from seizures or expropriation. Moreover, another 2.5% was derived from forced sales. However, [[Jonathan Petropoulos]], a historian at [[Loyola University Maryland|Loyola College]] in [[Baltimore]] and an expert in wartime looting, argues that most of the purchases were not [[Arm's length principle|arms' length]] in nature. [[Gerard Aalders]], a Dutch historian, said those sales amounted to ''technical looting,'' since the Netherlands and other occupied countries were forced to accept German ''reichsmarks'' that ultimately proved worthless. Aalders argues that "If Hitler's or Goering's art agent stood on your doorstep and offered $10,000 for the painting instead of the $100,000 it was really worth, it was pretty hard to refuse". Aalders adds that Nazis who encountered reluctant sellers threatened to confiscate the art or arrest the owner. [[Birgit Schwarz]], an expert on the ''Führermuseum'', in her review of Löhr's book, pointed out that the author focused on the purchases in the ''Führerbau'' in Munich and ignored the deposits of looted art in Upper Austria (Thürntal, Kremsmünster and Hohenfurt/Vyssi Brod) As the Allied troops approached the salt mine, August Eigruber, ''[[Gauleiter]]'' of Upper Austria, gave orders to blow it up; Hitler countermanded the order, but after the "Führer's" death Eigruber ignored this. Nevertheless his order was not carried out. Most of the collection was recovered, but some was not. Some argue that stolen artwork is hanging in museums and collections around the world. This is discussed in the documentary ''[[The Rape of Europa]]''. ==Post-war== After [[World War II]], the American Art Looting Investigation Unit (ALIU) of the [[Office of Strategic Services]] (OSS) made thirteen detailed reports on the Linz museum and the Nazi plundering of art. These reports were synthesised into four consolidated reports; the fourth of these was written by S. Lane Faison covering the ''Führermuseum''. These reports focused on returning art to rightful owners. In [[Eastern Europe]], [[Stalin]] charged [[Mikhail Khrapchenko]] with taking many of the ''Führermuseum'' artworks to stock Soviet art galleries. Khrapchenko said "it would now be possible to turn Moscow’s Pushkin Museum into one of the world’s great museums, like the [[British Museum]], the [[Louvre]], or the [[Hermitage Museum|Hermitage]]." In 2010, an album that an [[United States|American]] soldier looted from Hitler's home, [[Berghof]], during the war that catalogued artwork Hitler desired for the museum is to be returned to Germany. ==Further reading== *Spotts, Frederic: Hitler and the power of aesthetics. Woodstock & New York 2003, pp. 188–220. ISBN 1-58567-345-5. *Schwarz, Birgit: Hitler's Museum. Die Fotoalben Gemäldegalerie Linz. Wien, Böhlau Verlag, 2004. ISBN 3-205-77054-4. *Schwarz, Birgit: Hitler's Museum, in: Vitalizing Memory. International Perspektives on Provenance Research. Washington 2005, pp. 51–54. *Schwarz, Birgit: Le Führermuseum de Hitler et la Mission spéciale Linz, in: André Gob, Des musées au-dessus de tout soupcon, Paris 2007, pp. 164–176. ISBN 978-2-200-35099-4 *Löhr, Hanns Christian: Das Braune Haus der Kunst. Hitler und der "Sonderauftrag Linz". Berlin Akademie Verlag, 2005. ISBN 978-3-05-004156-8. *Schwarz, Birgit: Sonderauftrag Linz und „Führermuseum“, in: Raub und Restitution, Jüdisches Museum Berlin 2008, pp. 127–133 ISBN 978-3-8353-0361-4 ==External links== *[http://www.welt.de/data/2004/04/01/258889.html 2004 article] from ''[[Die Welt]]'' (in [[German language|German]]) *[http://hist.academic.claremontmckenna.edu/jpetropoulos/linz/linztable.html ''OSS Report on Hitler's Museum''] (from Prof. Jonathan Petropolous) *[http://www.pcha.gov/ ''Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States''] *[http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2008/nr08-22.html ''National Archives Announces Discovery of "Hitler Albums" Documenting Looted Art''] *[http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/linzdb/indexe.html Online database of Linz Special Collection at The German Historical Museum covering 4747 works.] "It shows paintings, sculptures, furniture, porcelain, and tapestries that Adolf Hitler and his agents purchased or appropriated from confiscated property between the end of the 1930s and 1945, primarily for a museum planned for Linz, but also for other collections." *[http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/linzdb/einleitunge.html History of Linz Collection at the German Historical Museum] {{coord missing|Austria}} {{Use dmy dates|date=July 2011}} {{DEFAULTSORT:Fuhrermuseum}}