Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Invitation from the German Lost Art Foundation to a series of talks with descendants of Jewish art collectors

Date 2022.06.21

The Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion will present a three-part se­ries of dis­cus­sions with de­scen­dants of Jew­ish art col­lec­tors over this sum­mer. The for­mat con­tin­ues from its in­tro­duc­tion in 2021 dur­ing the fes­ti­val year “#2021JLID – Jew­ish Life in Ger­many”.

Jew­ish pa­trons and col­lec­tors had an im­por­tant role in Ger­man cul­tur­al life since the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry. As the Na­tion­al So­cial­ists rose to pow­er, they were per­se­cut­ed and dis­en­fran­chised and their prop­er­ty seized and loot­ed. Many for­mer­ly promi­nent art col­lec­tions are still dis­persed to­day and their col­lec­tors are fre­quent­ly for­got­ten. The Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion funds projects with de­scen­dants where their lost her­itage is re­con­struct­ed, re­call­ing a vi­tal part of cul­tur­al his­to­ry. Three con­ver­sa­tions with Al­fred Fass, Rafael Car­doso, and Jo­hannes Nathan will chron­i­cle the search for lost col­lec­tions of their fam­i­lies and the re­con­struc­tion of mem­o­ry.

11 Ju­ly, 6 pm: Al­fred Fass in con­ver­sa­tion with Yana Slavo­va and Uwe Hart­mann (dig­i­tal)

Al­fred Fass is the great-grand­son of Nurem­berg toy man­u­fac­tur­er Abra­ham Adels­berg­er (1863-1940), who owned an art col­lec­tion of at least 1,000 ob­jects. Af­ter his com­pa­ny Fis­ch­er & Co. ran in­to fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties at the end of the 1920s, Adels­berg­er used parts of the col­lec­tion as loan col­lat­er­al with lenders such as Dres­d­ner Bank. The Abra­ham Adels­berg­er Art Re­search Project of the In­sti­tute for Art His­to­ry at Freie Uni­ver­sität Berlin, fund­ed by the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion, re­con­structs the col­lec­tion and al­so in­ves­ti­gates the role of banks in mon­e­tiz­ing the ob­jects. While Abra­ham Adels­berg­er sold works of art at auc­tion be­fore 1933, the fam­i­ly lost the re­main­der of the col­lec­tion due to Nazi per­se­cu­tion. In 1939, Abra­ham Adels­berg­er fled with his wife Clothilde to Am­s­ter­dam, where he died in 1940. Clothilde Adels­berg­er was de­port­ed to Bergen-Belsen con­cen­tra­tion camp in 1943 and sur­vived the Holo­caust.

The con­ver­sa­tion will be held in En­glish.

Al­fred Fass is a busi­ness­man and his­to­ri­an in Is­rael.
Yana Slavo­va is a re­search as­so­ciate in the "Abra­ham Adels­berg­er Art Re­search Project" at the Art His­to­ry In­sti­tute of the Freie Uni­ver­sität Berlin.
Dr. Uwe Hart­mann is head of the De­part­ment for Cul­tur­al Prop­er­ty Loss­es in Eu­rope in the 20th Cen­tu­ry at the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion.

The event will be held on­line via We­bex. Reg­is­tra­tion is free but nec­es­sary up un­til the day be­fore the event. Par­tic­i­pants will re­ceive ac­cess de­tails on the day of the event.

25 Ju­ly, 6 pm: Rafael Car­doso in con­ver­sa­tion with Cather­ine Hick­ley (dig­i­tal)

Born in Brazil, Rafael Car­doso grew up know­ing noth­ing of the fate of his great-grand­fa­ther Hugo Si­mon. It was on­ly af­ter he found a chest of draw­ers full of doc­u­ments in his grand­par­ents' es­tate in São Paulo that he be­gan to work through the his­to­ry of the per­se­cu­tion of his Ger­man-Jew­ish fam­i­ly. The banker, paci­fist and politi­cian Hugo Si­mon (1880-1950), was an in­flu­en­tial man in 1920s Berlin who af­ter the 1918 Novem­ber Rev­o­lu­tion briefly be­came Prus­sian fi­nance min­is­ter. Si­mon was al­so in­stru­men­tal in es­tab­lish­ing the Neue De­part­ment at the Na­tion­al Gallery. He him­self owned one of the most im­por­tant art col­lec­tions in Berlin with around 200 works. When Hugo Si­mon was forced to flee Ger­many in 1933, he was able to take most of the col­lec­tion abroad, but from 1934 he was forced to suc­ces­sive­ly sell works of art and lost oth­ers dur­ing the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion in Paris. At the end of the war, in ex­ile in Brazil, Hugo Si­mon could on­ly dis­pose of a few works. His great-grand­son Rafael Car­doso, in a project spon­sored by the Foun­da­tion to­geth­er with the Art His­to­ry De­part­ment of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ham­burg, is ded­i­cat­ed to the re­con­struc­tion of the col­lec­tion and the search for its where­abouts.

The con­ver­sa­tion will be held in En­glish.

Prof. Dr. Rafael Car­doso is an art his­to­ri­an and writ­er who now lives in Berlin.
Cather­ine Hick­ley writes as a jour­nal­ist for The Art News­pa­per and The New York Times, among oth­ers. She is al­so chief cu­ra­tor of the Berend Lehmann Mu­se­um in Hal­ber­stadt.

The event will be held on­line via We­bex. Reg­is­tra­tion is free but nec­es­sary up un­til the day be­fore the event. Par­tic­i­pants will re­ceive ac­cess de­tails on the day of the event.

1 Septem­ber, 6:30 pm: Jo­hannes Nathan in con­ver­sa­tion with Lea Rosh (in per­son event at the Lieber­mann Vil­la on Wannsee and on­line)

Jo­hannes Nathan is a de­scen­dant of Hugo Hel­bing (1863-1938), who un­til 1935 was one of the lead­ing art deal­ers and auc­tion­eers in Eu­rope and amassed a sig­nif­i­cant art col­lec­tion. In ad­di­tion to his main busi­ness in Mu­nich, Hel­bing main­tained a branch in Frank­furt am Main and an of­fice in Berlin and worked close­ly with the Berlin art deal­er Paul Cas­sir­er. His auc­tions were con­sid­ered so­cial events, and he was high­ly dec­o­rat­ed for his ser­vices to the Bavar­i­an State Paint­ing Col­lec­tions. Af­ter 1933, his busi­ness fell on hard times. On the night of the pogrom, Hugo Hel­bing was at­tacked in his apart­ment and so bad­ly mal­treat­ed that he suc­cumbed to his in­juries on Novem­ber 30, 1938. Two days lat­er, the forced liq­ui­da­tion of his art busi­ness be­gan, and the col­lec­tion was seized from his heirs. In a project fund­ed by the Foun­da­tion in co­op­er­a­tion with Meike Hopp of the In­sti­tute for Art His­to­ry and His­tor­i­cal Ur­ban Stud­ies at the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty of Berlin, the col­lec­tion is cur­rent­ly be­ing re­con­struct­ed as far as pos­si­ble and the where­abouts of the art­works clar­i­fied.

Dr. Jo­hannes Nathan is an art his­to­ri­an and art deal­er in Pots­dam and Zurich and chair­man of the Max Lieber­mann So­ci­ety Berlin e.V.
Lea Rosh is a mul­ti-award-win­ning au­thor and pub­li­cist.

The con­ver­sa­tion will be held in Ger­man.

For the event on Septem­ber 1 in the Lieber­mann Vil­la, please reg­is­ter by Au­gust 25. In ad­di­tion, the event will be streamed on­line. You will find the link short­ly be­fore the event here.


The events on 11 Ju­ly and 25 Ju­ly will be held on­line via We­bex. Reg­is­tra­tion is free but nec­es­sary up un­til the day be­fore the event. Par­tic­i­pants will re­ceive ac­cess de­tails on the day of the event.

Reg­is­tra­tion via:

Hein­rich Natho
Press Of­fice Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion
Tele­phone +49 (0) 391 727 763-23
veranstaltungen@kulturgutverluste.de

By reg­is­ter­ing and par­tic­i­pat­ing you give per­mis­sion to the or­gan­is­ers to make pho­to, sound, and video record­ings dur­ing the event and use these in con­nec­tion with the event for pub­lic re­la­tions and doc­u­men­ta­tion in ana­logue and dig­i­tal for­mat (in ac­cor­dance with Ger­man law § 22 Kun­stUrhG). The or­gan­is­ers will gath­er, pro­cess, and use your per­son­al da­ta in line with the statu­to­ry du­ties of the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion.