Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

German government restitutes Nazi-confiscated property

Date 2020.05.30

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)

Fed­er­al Art Ad­min­is­tra­tion

Prove­nance in­for­ma­tion about the paint­ing “Der Wild­bach Strubb bei Is­chl” (The Strubb tor­rent near Is­chl) (on­ly Ger­man ver­sion)

Prove­nance in­for­ma­tion about the paint­ing "“Der Dachstein von Alt-Aussee gese­hen” (The Dachstein Viewed From Alt-Aussee) (on­ly Ger­man ver­sion)