Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Restitution: Museum Lüneburg returns two museum exhibits to heirs of Hirsch Lengel

Date 2017.05.20

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.

Project de­scrip­tion (on­ly Ger­man ver­sion)

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* Hirsch Lengel