Artwork in German parliament may have been Nazi-looted

MUNICH (JTA) — Two pieces of art hanging in Germany’s parliament building in Berlin may have been confiscated or acquired at artificially depressed prices, German newspapers reported.

The two works in question reportedly are a large-format 1905 oil painting by Georg Waltenberger titled “Chancellor Bülow speaks in the Reichstag,” and a 1918 Lovis Corinth lithograph, “A Street in Königsberg.” The Die Welt newspaper reported that the lithograph was printed by the Berlin gallery of Fritz Gurlitt, the uncle of Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazi-era dealer whose huge collection was discovered in the Munich apartment of his elderly son, Cornelius Gurlitt, in 2012.

News of the two artworks was first reported by Germany’s Bild newspaper.

The Bundestag responded in a statement that it is looking into the matter. Meanwhile, Die Welt said the Bundestag’s eight-member art advisory council, which includes the German president, has already determined that neither work was plundered from countries occupied by the Nazis.

Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Bild that the Bundestag should make its collection public and assist investigators in reconnecting possible heirs with long-lost property. Over the years, the Bundestag has returned several works to heirs.

Of the 4,000 works in the German parliament’s collection, about 700 are said to date from before the end of World War II.

NEXT STORY