Nearly 5,000 artworks collected by Adolf Hitler can now be seen online.
The virtual museum is a joint project of the German Historical Museum and Federal Office for Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues.
It was established to help locate the legal heirs of stolen works, as well as to provide research material on the National Socialist abuse of art for political purposes, according to organizers’ officials as well as Berlin historian Hanns Christian Lohr, who worked on the project.
The online archive, called “Special Assignment Linz” after Hitler’s code name for a planned museum in that Austrian town, includes paintings, sculptures, furniture, porcelain and tapestries – 4,731 objects in all. Some were purchased, others stolen. Many already have been returned to their original owners or placed in museums.
Hitler intended some for Linz and others for collections elsewhere, according to a statement from the Berlin-based German Historical Museum.
By the end of this year, some 90,000 additional scans of card catalogues will go online from the Munich Central Collecting Point together with photos from the Federal Agency catalogs.
Hitler was attracted to German and Austrian works of the 19th century, and considered most modern works and their creators “degenerate.” Hitler initiated the “Special Assignment Linz” in 1939, before the start of World War II, with the goal of creating a “Fuhrer Museum” in Linz. As the war came to an end, the collection was stowed away in salt mines. Allied forces later confiscated the works, and documented each of them with photos and written descriptions.