German government restitutes Nazi-confiscated property
The Federal Art Administration (KVdB) has returned two Ferdinand Waldmüller paintings owned by the German government to the legal successors of the previous owner, who live in Austria.
Dr. Hermann Eissler was a Jewish businessman based in Vienna. He was persecuted by the National Socialists from March 1938 onwards, and in fall 1938, he transferred paintings from his collection to his wife, who was “Aryan” in National Socialist terminology. He fled Vienna for France in spring 1939. His wife sold the two Waldmüller paintings “Der Wildbach Strubb bei Ischl” (The Strubb torrent near Ischl) and “Der Dachstein von Alt-Aussee gesehen” (The Dachstein Viewed From Alt-Aussee) in May 1939 to the art dealer Maria Almas Dietrich. At that point, she had already filed for divorce from Dr. Hermann Eissler in order to protect the family assets, but the divorce had not yet been finalized. On the basis of these circumstances, the KVdB cannot rule out the possibility that Mrs. Eissler was still being subjected to the same persecution suffered by her Jewish husband at the time the two paintings were sold, and that therefore the sale had been forced in connection with her husband’s escape.
The painting “The Strubb torrent near Ischl” is listed in the publicly accessible Lost Art Database maintained by the German Lost Art Foundation as a found-object report by the KVdB under ID 220948.
Since the adoption of the Common Statement (1999), the Federal Art Administration has restituted 63 works in total as part of its efforts to implement the Washington Principles of 1998. (only German version)