Acquisitions of the Linden Museum between 1933 and 1945
- April 2016 to March 2017
The Linden Museum in Stuttgart is one of the most renowned ethnological museums in Europe. The cornerstone of its collections was laid in 1882 with the establishment of the “Wuerttemberg Association for Commercial Geography” and the efforts of its longstanding member Karl Graf von Linden (1838-1910). The Linden Museum was founded in 1911 under the aegis of the association. Between 1933 and 1945, the museum, headed by Heinrich Fischer (1868-1953) until 1943, acquired works from over 300 individuals and institutions. All of the items acquired during the period of 1933 to 1945 fall into the “yellow” provenance category according to the colour scale of the German Lost Art Foundation.
Following a preliminary assessment of the acquisition records, researchers have drafted a 25-point list with items for which there are grounds for suspicion and whose provenance requires more detailed investigation. These comprise 618 pieces which were acquired from ethnological museums or were purchased from private individuals. So far, researchers have only been able to identify two of these individuals as victims of Nazi persecution due to their Jewish heritage. There were also pieces obtained from research institutions and organisations in the Third Reich which had actively participated in the persecutory measures against the Jewish population. As a result, a total of 192 items have to be placed in the “orange” provenance category.
In addition to the previously mentioned museum director Heinrich Fischer, the ethnologist Robert Pfaff-Giesberg (1899-1984) also worked at the Linden Museum as an assistant from 1925 to 1935. His successor was Fritz Jäger (1907-1984) who continued working in that position until the 1950s.
The project’s findings will be presented in an article which will appear in the 2017 Linden Museum yearbook “Tribus”.