Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Systematic review of the collections of the Deutsche Schiffahrtsmuseum in Bremerhaven for cultural assets seized as a result of Nazi persecution

funding area Nazi confiscated art Grant recipient Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum (Bremerhaven) State Bremen Website Contact person Project type Long-term project to systematically investigate collection holdings Funding duration
  1. February 2017 to January 2018
  2. Februar 2018 bis September2020


The Deutsche Schifffahrtsmuseum (DSM) in Bremerhaven, which was founded in 1971 and opened in 1975, is planning to systematically examine its holdings for cultural assets seized as a result of Nazi persecution. The holdings contain historic technical, social and economic objects, model ships, paintings and prints, as well as archive records and photographs from German maritime history.

Research will initially focus on two sets of items from the museum’s initial holdings, which are made up of objects that were acquired by the museum in its early years and which form the basis of its collection. The initial holdings contain objects from an extensive historic maritime private collection, along with cultural assets that were provided to the DSM by the Morgenstern-Museum (Historisches Museum) Bremerhaven. The provenance of many of the objects from these two large lots is not, or not entirely, clear for the period 1933–1945. The aim is to fill in the existing provenance gaps and scrutinize any suspicious objects when doing so. The project will also examine the backgrounds of smaller collections within these two large lots and investigate the collectors behind them.

Apart from these two collections, there are also indications of possible confiscated property elsewhere at the DSM: among acquisitions from the art market made at the same time and also later, and among acquisitions from private collections. Therefore, a third set of items consisting of specific suspicious objects will also be checked.

© Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum - Leibniz-Institut für deutsche Schifffahrtsgeschichte, April 2017