Restitution: Museum Lüneburg returns two museum exhibits to heirs of Hirsch Lengel
Museum Lüneburg and Museumsverein für das Fürstentum Lüneburg (Principality of Lüneburg Museum Association) have today returned two pieces of linen damask to the heirs of Jewish businessman Hirsch Lengel. Both have been identified as Nazi-confiscated property.
Hirsch Lengel and his family suffered persecution under the Nazis. The merchant was forced to give up his business in summer 1937 and was later deported to a concentration camp. Systematic provenance research at Museum Lüneburg revealed that the Museum Association had purchased the two pieces of linen from Hirsch for nine Reichsmarks—a price below market value—shortly before he was banned from carrying out his profession.
Museum Lüneburg contacted Hirsch’s heirs and other descendants in the US and Canada in 2016. The family decided to have the items restituted, but will loan them back to the museum until further notice.
In a project funded by the German Lost Art Foundation, Museum Lüneburg is examining the origin of objects acquired for its holdings after 1933 for which the suspicion of Nazi looting cannot be ruled out.