Provenance Research on Cultural Assets confiscated as a Result of Nazi Persecution

Focus on selected holdings

In a second research project, the museum again focuses on “Provenance research and the identification of cultural assets confiscated as a result of Nazi persecution in selected inventories of the collection of the Leipzig Museum of City History” (from December 2022 to November 2024). The further investigations are designed to establish in how far these items were acquired unlawfully in 1935 and in the years after 1945. The providers are known; however, the previous owners, especially during the Nazi regime, are hitherto unknown.

Because of the previous research project from 2020 to 2022, the focus moved to certain items with obviously suspicious acquisition circumstances. The acquisitions to be investigated included cultural assets by providers who purchased from Hans Klemm auction house (the famous Leipzig auctioneer during the Nazi regime) and subsequently re-sold the cultural assets. Moreover, artwork by Jewish artists like Eduard Einschlag or Eduard Bendemann, submissions by the welfare office of the city of Leipzig or purchases from the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy estate are also included in the research. Individuals, companies and municipal offices are all considered in greater detail.

The entire research project comprises the fields of arts/arts and craft, the photographic library, everyday culture/ethnology and the library. The provenance of 43 acquisitions, including 146 items from the arts/arts and craft collections, will be examined. These also comprise portfolios, 42 items from the everyday culture/ethnology collections, 2 autographs, 11 books and 4001 photographs.

The aim is to return the assets concerned to the rightful heirs after the determination of their provenance – if possible, without any gaps.

The researched provenances will be documented in detail in the collection database and shown separately in the online collection database. The permanent exhibition will include full explanations on the provenance of the items concerned. Finally, the project will be concluded by an exhibition presenting the research results.

The project is supported by the German Lost Art Foundation.