Books and Publications:

Theodor Brückler (ed.), Kunstraub, Kunstbergung und Restitution in Österreich 1938 bis Heute (Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 1999) (Art Looting, Art Storage and Restitution in Austria from 1938 until Today)


Theodor Brückler (ed.), Kunstraub, Kunstbergung und Restitution in Österreich 1938 bis Heute (Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 1999) (Art Looting, Art Storage and Restitution in Austria from 1938 until Today)

A book published at the Federal Office of Historical Monuments (Bundesdenkmalamt) by Univ. Prof. Ernst Bacher, President of the Austrian Commission for Provenance Research and former Generalkonservator at the Federal Office of Historical Monuments. Dr.Theodor Brückler, head archivist at the Austrian Federal Office of Historical Monuments (Bundesdenkmalamt) is the editor of the book.

As the title suggests, this is a very comprehensive volume divided into an essay and documentation section. The first three contributions in the essay section together provide a historical overview of confiscation, wartime storage and the post-war restitution debate and legislation in Austria until today, including the Mauerbach auction of 1996. The remaining two essays are case studies; one examines the role of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna) in the confiscation, wartime storage and restitution of art objects between 1938 and 1945, the other describes the "aryanisation" and post war restitution of the Rothschild art collection and property.

By far the greater part of the book is dedicated to a documentation, compiled by Dr. Brückler, of the 'restitution materials' in the Archives of the Federal Office of Historical Monuments. Brückler reproduces samples of the historical documents in the archives and accompanies them with short texts which provide context and interpretation. The documentation is divided into six thematic categories and works like a guided tour of key documents in the archive.
A sample of records from each category is listed below:

1. Confiscations (Beschlagnahmungen)
This section groups records which document the manifold ways by which works of art and other property were confiscated.
These Records include:

2. Museums and the 'Linz' Collection (Museen und "Linzer Sammlung")
This section groups records on the "Führervorbehalt" and Linz collection, and records which document the fierce competition between Austrian museums to secure confiscated objects for their collections, their "wish lists" for objects stored in the Central Depot at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna) and the post-war attitudes of museums towards these works.
These Records include:

3. Storage Measures (Bergungsmaßnahmen)
This section groups records that document the wartime storage of works of art in Austria, incidents during the last days of the war (incl. the destruction of works by German units), reports of post-war looting and destruction by locals and occupation armies, efforts to recover collections, storage solutions for confiscated collections. These Records include:

4. The Central Collecting Point in Munich (Zentralkunstdepot München)
This section groups records which document the removal of works of art from the storage location at Altaussee to the Munich Collecting point administered by the US Army, the deeply conflictual relation between the Collecting Point and Austrian researchers sent to recover works, and the day-to-day research process.
These Records include:

5. Restitution (Restitutionen)
This section groups documents on post-war discussions regarding title to confiscated works, restitution between Austria and Germany, donations enforced from restituted Jewish collections and contemporary attitudes, Czechoslovakian claims in Austria and vice versa. These Records include:

6. The Monument Authority (Denkmalbehörde)
This section groups records documenting the on the activities of the Bundesdenkmalamt and its staff during the Nazi period and immediate post-war period.
These Records include:

The book also includes a short presentation of photographic resources in the archives and reproductions of the Austrian restitution legislation, a short inventory of the c. 110 boxes of restitution materials (as of January 2003, they are stored in 142 boxes) and an index of names and places mentioned in the text and in the historical documents reproduced in the documentation section.

Although the illustrated 'guided tour' and the overview of the inventory together provide a very useful introduction and orientation for the material, it would be desirable to also see a much more detailed systematic inventory list and finding aid made available.
The Bundesdenkmalamt is currently reorganising its archives and indicates that the restitution materials are now stored in 142 boxes.

Content List (in German)

Vorwort  Ernst Bacher

I. Beiträge
Brückler, Theodor: Kunstwerke zwischen Kunstraub und Kunstbergung: 1938 - 1945
Sailer, Gerhard: Rückbringung und Rückgabe: 1945 - 1966
Haslinger, Kurt: Mauerbach und der lange Weg bis zur Auktion: 1966 - 1996
Haupt, Herbert : Die Rolle des Kunsthistorischen Museums bei der Beschlagnahme, Bergung und Rückführung von Kunstgut in den Jahren 1938-1945
Hermann-Jelinek, Felicitas, Von Arisierungen und Restitutierungen: Zum Schicksal der Rothschild'schen Kunst- und sonstigen Besitztümer in Wien

II. Quellendokumentation. Ausgewählt, bearbeitet und kommentiert von Theodor Brückler

1. Beschlagnahmungen
2. Museen und "Linzer Sammlung"
3. Bergungsmaßnahmen
4. Zentralkunstdepot München
5. Restitutionen
6. Denkmalbehörde

III. Bildteil. Augewählt und bearbeitet von Bernadette Reinhold

IV. Gesetzestexte
1 Restitutionsgesetz
2. Kunst-und Kulturbereinigungsgesetze
3. "Mauerbach-Gesetz"

V. Kurzinventar der im Archiv des Bundesdenkmalamtes (Wien) archivierten Restitutionsmaterialien (110 Kartons). Erstellt von Theodor Brückler

VI. Register. Erstellt von Bernadette Reinhold
1. Personen
2. Orte


Theodor Brückler (ed.), Kunstraub, Kunstbergung und Restitution in Österreich 1938 bis Heute (Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 1999) (Art Looting, Art Storage and Restitution in Austria from 1938 until Today)

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