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'The Art That Hitler Hated' and 'The Sins of the Fathers', a two-part series on BBC 1 Television's Imagine arts series October and November 2014

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In a two-part special on Tuesday 28 October and Tuesday 4 November 2014, the BBC's premier arts documentary series, Imagine on BBC1, followed the stories of Hildebrand and Cornelius Gurlitt and those of the families who have been fighting to find their lost art.

Part 1, 'The Art That Hitler Hated', told how on a train crossing from Switzerland to Germany in February 2010 an old man, Cornelius Gurlitt, was searched by customs officials. They found 9,000 euros in cash. Their suspicions started a journey back in time, to a hoard of art hidden since the Third Reich which has reignited passions that seemed long spent. These were not old masters but new - works the Nazis labelled 'degenerate', like the Jews themselves. They tried to wipe out both. The father of the old man on the train, Hildebrand Gurlitt, was a dealer for the Nazis, selling these works abroad and keeping some for himself. 

'The Sins of the Fathers' on 4 November told how the end of the war was only the beginning of another battle. In the art world in Germany, it was business as usual. Many people in museums, galleries and auction houses in Germany remained in their positions when the war was over. So people involved in looting art might now be in charge of deciding whether to return it. For families, often living in exile,it was an uphill struggle. For them the discovery of the Gurlitt hoard has raised new hopes - and repeated some old disappointments.

The films were conceived and executive produced by Anne Webber, Co-Chair of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe.

 

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