Overcoming the Burdensome Nazi Legacy in Germany’s Cultural Sphere (on the Example of the German Art Institutions)

  • Post category:Issue XX

Viktoriia Soloshenko
Ph.D. in History, Deputy Director for Research at the Institute of World History of the NAS of Ukraine

DOI https://doi.org/10.37837/2707-7683-2019-47

Abstract. The article examines the problem of overcoming the burdensome historical legacy of Nazism in the Federal Republic of Germany. Particular attention is attached to the mitigation of the impact of National Socialism on the cultural sphere. An important aspect of studying Nazi history is the analysis of the Weinmüller case, previously unknown archival documents that shed light on the dark pages of German history.
The article discusses the place and role of the ‘Adolf Weinmüller’ art institution in Nazi art trade. It has been revealed that this famous art auction house laid the foundations for the development of modern art in Munich and paved the way for the “Neumeister” auction house. The author emphasizes that the provision of access to the private archives of the “Neumeister” auction house, which is the successor of ‘Adolf Weinmüller,’ was a breakthrough in solving national socialists’ crimes and an important step in overcoming the consequences of totalitarianism in Germany. By opening access to the archives of the auction house, Katrin Stoll, the owner of “Neumeister”, encouraged scholars tо conduct a detailed study. It is important to note that no other auction house in Germany has ever dared to take such bold steps. In such a way, the scientific basis was laid for a number of projects aimed at finding and declassifying archival documents.
The author emphasizes that Germany’s experience in dealing with such an important problem as overcoming the burdensome historical legacy of Nazism through identification and restitution of property and cultural values looted by the Nazis, is invaluable. In recent decades, the process of addressing this range of problems has been put on a solid governmental footing.
Keywords: Germany, auction houses “Adolf Weinmüller”, “Neumeister”, cultural values, collections, trafficking, alienation, National Socialism.

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