Hitler’s Art Collection Uncovered

Courtney Subramanian for Time, February 27, 2012:

Czech writer and publisher Jiri Kuchar’s five-year treasure hunt finally ended when he found a long-lost collection of art formerly owned by Adolf Hitler, the AFP reports.

Kuchar, who wrote two books on the $2.7 million series of paintings, found the collection at Doksany monastery, located about 30 miles (49 km) north of Prague. The seven pieces discovered are a “part of Hitler’s collection of about 45 paintings, about 30 statues, a writing table and some gifts,” Kuchar told the AFP, “which were declared former Czechoslovakia’s war booty.”

The collection landed at the Vyssi Brod Czech monastery during World War II after Hitler ordered them to be hidden, the Telegraph reports, along with two other collections including one formerly owned by German-born Jewish banker Fritz Mannheimer. The other two collections were seized while Hitler’s works disappeared, leaving behind a lost fortune in art.

“I sent DVDs with the pictures to institutions I thought might have the works,” Kuchar said of his research, which began five years ago and included touring castles and monasteries. “The monks who got the monastery back after the war said they didn’t want the paintings.”

Kuchar has since tracked down several parts of the collection, including statues in a park of the southern château of Hluboka, but laments some pieces are still at large.

“I’ve got a feeling that many places will be reluctant to admit their favourite works of art have this unfortunate historical blemish,” he told the Telegraph.

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