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Lost Lives, Lost Art (Hardback)

Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft and the Quest for Justice

WWII Reference All Frontline Books Hitler & the Third Reich Frontline: WWII

By Melissa Müller, Monica Tatzkow, Foreword by Elie Wiesel
Frontline Books
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781848325777
Published: 27th October 2010



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From 1933 on Jewish collectors were under extraordinary pressure from German official and unofficial sources to surrender their priceless collections. Collectors reluctantly agreed to one-sided sales of masterpieces at ludicrously low prices in exchange for a precious exit permit for themselves or a member of their family. This book traces the dispersal of these collections and follow the fate of the collectors. Inevitably, their collections were confiscated by German officials (Jacques Goudstikker), sold by Nazi party member art dealers (Cassirer) or seized for state collections (Bloch-Bauer). Following the war Allied officials made little effort to retrieve these paintings, concentrating their resources on art removed from museums, churches, and palaces. But the collectior s heirs continued to pursue the return of their patrimony, and over the past twenty years have won a number of key court decisions in Europe and the US leading to the restitution of some of the lost art. For every victory, such as the return to the Bloch-Bauer heirs of their family s confiscated Klimts, are defeats and obstinate stonewalling by museums and collectors, who insist that the art was legally acquired in good faith.

Monika Tatzkow, historian and NATO research Fellow, is a worldwide leading authority in art-restitution matters . Her research lead to the first art-restitution based on the Washington Principles ever, her expertise regularly influences German High Court, e.g. in the "Swiss Gold" decision, as well as museums. Tatzkow is the co-author of the highly praised restitution-case handbook “Nazi Looted Art” and of the “Story of Street Scene” which accompanied the 2007 MoMa Exhibition of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner`s Street Scene paintings.

Lost Lives, Lost Art, tells the stories of fifteen Jewish art collections; how families built-up their important collections and how these families acted to protect themselves and their assets as the Nazis expanded across Europe. In spite of an international undertaking to find fair and just solutions, many thousands of stolen artworks are still held in private collections and museums. And so it remains for claimants to act: to do the research, to find the art, to prove rightful ownership, re-establish provenance, to file law suits and take protracted legal restitutional negotiations. For us all, these are sad and humbling stories, and for the art connoisseur this book is a beautifully illustrated reference book.

Pennant Magazine

An exquisite book which tells the important story of the battle to reclaim artworks stolen by the Nazis.

Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre

This beautifully illustrated book, with nearly 200 works of at, is powerful indictment of the collusion between art dealers and Nazi officials, the legacy of which continues until the present day.


In Lost Lives, Lost Art, authors Melissa Muller and Monika Tatzkow chronicle the tragic stories of fifteen Jewish collectors, tracing the dispersal of their extraordinary collections and following their fate as they died in concentration camps or had the good fortune to secure a visa to a safe country. Allied officials made little effort to retrieve these lost works but the collector's heirs have won a number of key court decisions leading to the restitution of some of the lost art. This beautifully illustrated book, with nearly 200 works of art, is a powerful indictment of the collusion between art dealers and Nazi officials, the legacy of which continues until the present day.

Antiques Diary

The Nazi theft and subsequent ownership of works of art belonging to Jewish families is still a subject of controversy more than 60 years on. But the battles that collector's families have had with various museums and institutions have not always led to fair outcomes. This book's coauthor, journalist Melissa Muller, said: "There are quite a few books on looted art, but with ours we hope to make the subject more accessible". Melissa - author of the bestselling Anne Frank: The Biography - began researching the subject in 2005. Co-author Monika's research led to the first successful restitution of Nazi-looted art under the Washington Principles of 1998.

Arts and Entertainment

The book is meticulously researched, brilliantly and dispassionately
written, and is in all likelihood a game changer in the world of art, art provenance, and art restitution that will resound for years to come... a beautifully illustrated chronicle of the worst time in human history.

Jack Shakely, ForeWord Reviews

About Melissa Müller

Melissa Müller is a journalist and editor on numerous German magazines and newspapers, and was the co-author with Traudl Junge of the highly acclaimed book "Until the Final Hour: Hitler’s Last Secretary".

About Monica Tatzkow

Historian Monica Tatzkow is the co-author of Nazi Looted Art. She is actively engaged in the identification and recovery of stolen art.

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