Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Deutsches Kunstarchiv publishes the first travel diary written by Hans Posse, Hitler’s special representative, online

Date 2020.05.06

The Deutsches Kun­starchiv (DKA) at the Ger­man­is­ches Na­tional­mu­se­um has pub­lished the first of five trav­el di­aries writ­ten by Hans Posse, Hitler’s spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive, on the web­site https://edi­tion­hans­posse.gnm.de. The Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion fund­ed this project from 2017 to March 2020.
Back­ground:

Part of Hans Posse’s es­tate is held at the Deutsches Kun­starchiv. From 1910 un­til his death in De­cem­ber 1942, Posse was the di­rec­tor of the Dres­den Art Gallery. He was al­so Adolf Hitler’s spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive from sum­mer 1939 on­wards. Posse was ap­point­ed to build up a col­lec­tion of art for Hitler’s planned “Führer Mu­se­um” in Linz, and was al­so in charge of or­ga­niz­ing and im­ple­ment­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion of Nazi-con­fis­cat­ed art to mu­se­ums in the “Ost­mark” (Aus­tria) and oth­er re­gions of the Ger­man Re­ich. Among the con­tents of his es­tate are his du­ty di­ary and five trav­el di­aries doc­u­ment­ing his of­fi­cial trips as Hitler’s spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

The aim of the re­search project was to make the trav­el di­aries avail­able to re­searchers in the form of a dig­i­tal edi­tion. In or­der to achieve this, the en­tries first need­ed to be re­viewed and made ac­ces­si­ble. The trav­el di­aries are be­ing dig­i­tized and the en­tries tran­scribed, an­no­tat­ed, en­tered in­to a vir­tu­al re­search en­vi­ron­ment and pub­lished as dig­i­tal edi­tions.

The trav­el di­aries are an im­por­tant source of in­for­ma­tion on art theft and mu­se­um pol­i­cy in the Nazi regime and are al­so cru­cial for prove­nance re­search. They re­veal Hans Posse’s net­work of con­tacts with Nazi or­ga­ni­za­tions, art deal­ers and agents, and with pri­vate col­lec­tors. Posse reg­u­lar­ly vis­it­ed stor­age de­pots con­tain­ing con­fis­cat­ed col­lec­tions and art­works that had been ex­am­ined and val­ued. Most of these are named specif­i­cal­ly and of­ten list­ed with prices and con­di­tions of pur­chase or ac­cep­tance.

On­line Edi­tion (on­ly Ger­man ver­sion)

Project de­scrip­tion