Skip to Main Content
site header image

Holocaust-Era Research Resources

A guide to archives at the Getty Library that bear on Holocaust-era looting and postwar dissemination of stolen art.

Created 2003
Author: Research Services

Selected Collections

Arntz, Wilhelm F., papers, 1918-1983
German lawyer and art writer. Comprehensive collection covering a broad range of subjects on 20th-century German art, especially German expressionism. Of particular interest are research files on "degenerate art," which include correspondence, copies of official documents, campaign for the recovery of confiscated art, publications, miscellaneous notes and photographs, and galley proofs.

Bünemann, Hermann, letters received, 1928-1968
German art historian and critic. Collection of letters from artists, art historians, and dealers.

Cooper, Douglas, papers, ca. 1933-1985
Douglas Cooper pursued a long career as art critic, curator, and collector, producing numerous books, catalogs, articles, and reviews. He also amassed a distinguished collection of early cubist paintings. The collection embraces all papers relating to Cooper's career that remained with his estate at the time of his death, including material documenting Cooper's tenure at the Mayor Gallery and his investigation of Nazi art collections.

Felbermeyer photos for the Allied Central Collecting Point, Munich, ca. 1945-ca. 1949
Photographs taken by Johannes Felbermeyer for the allied Central Collecting Point (CCP) in Munich. These images document the process of repatriation of works of art after World War II, depicting both the people involved and approximately 500 European paintings and sculptures of known and unknown provenance.

Fine Arts (Special Services). Dutch Restitution Committee Detailed Interrogation Report No. 1 : Kajetan Mühlmann and the Dienststelle Mühlmann (typescript), 1945 Dec. 25
A detailed report (marked "Confidential") prepared by Jean Vlug of the Royal Netherlands Army, on the activities of the Dienststelle Mühlmann, the group led by Kajetan Mühlmann, which was responsible for obtaining works of art for Hitler, Göring, and other Nazi officials. The report includes inventories of art objects purchased (with prices), stolen, or confiscated in areas under German occupation. Includes complete photocopy.

Hall, Ardelia, records (microform of NARA holdings)
Fine Arts Officer, United States State Department, following World War II. Microfilm copy of the front face of over 50,000 property cards created for the allied Central Collecting Point, Munich, to document the restitution of works of art stolen during World War II. Each card records data for an individual art object, such as medium, subject, size, condition, identifying marks, description, and presumed owner; some cards are illustrated with a small photograph.

Interviews with art historians
Oral history interviews with Craig Hugh Smyth and Otto Wittmann, for historical background regarding recuperation and restititution of looted art.

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig, letters and papers, 1905-1946
German artist. Collection includes twelve letters and postcards from Kirchner, 1916-1932, discussing professional and personal matters, two sketchbooks, manuscript writings, a copybook with an exhibition outline, photographs of his work, press clippings, and an inventory of his library. The archive includes materials about the Third Reich's sale of works of art.

Laemmle, Siegfried and Walter, photographs documenting the Laemmle art business, 1894-1990s
Collection of glass negatives, photographs, and tearsheets assembled by prominent art dealers Siegfried and Walter Laemmle in the course of pursuing business in Munich and Los Angeles. Almost all of the glass negatives and many of the prints record objects that passed through Siegfried Laemmle's Munich shops over a 40-year period. Most of the works depicted are late medieval and early Renaissance sculptures, including several by Tilman Riemenschneider.

Liège (Belgium), Musée des beaux-arts papers relating to "entartete Kunst," 1939-1948
Papers relating to the purchase of "degenerate art" by Jules Bosmant at the auction in Lucerne organized by the German government.

Lorant, Stephan, collection, 1901-1992 (bulk 1920-1992)
Stefan Lorant is widely acknowledged as a founder of modern pictorial journalism. After growing up amid his family's studio photography business in Budapest, he pursued a career in silent-filmmaking in Vienna and Berlin, then went on to both found and edit picture magazines in Germany, Hungary, and England. In 1940 he came to the United States and began writing and producing photographically-illustrated history books. Most of the photographs document aspects of German history from the Franco-Prussian War (1871) to the Nuremberg Trials (1946), including photographs of Hitler's inner circle.

Oude Kunst Gallery records, ca. 1930-1995
Gallery owned and operated by the Cramer family. Contains comprehensive correspondence with museums, dealers, clients, and art historians, as well as financial records covering the acquisition, shipment, conservation, and sale of paintings.

Roh, Franz, papers, ca. 1911-1965
An art historian and pioneering critic of the 20th-century avant-garde, Franz Roh took an interest in the study and development of photography as an art form. In addition, he served as faculty at a number of institutions, including the University of Munich. Roh studied and lived primarily in Munich. Collection consists primarily of letters received from more than 1,000 correspondents, dating from ca. 1911-1965. There is extensive discussion of "de-Nazification" and of the personal history of correspondents during the Holocaust era.

Schaeffer Galleries records, 1925-1980
Records cover portions of the Berlin gallery operation from 1925 to 1939, and the New York gallery from 1939 to 1980 through correspondence (bulk 1950s-1980); client files (from the 1930s); inventory sheets and indices; photographs of art with records of sale, expertise, and provenance; photograph albums and catalogs documenting gallery exhibitions and the Le Roy M. Backus collection of drawings.

Schardt, Alois Jakob, papers, 1917-1956, 1983
German art historian and museum director. Former director of the Moritzburg Museum in Halle, Schardt was appointed director of the National Gallery in Berlin in 1933, replacing Ludwig Justic, who was forced from his job by the Nazis. Schardt was dismissed within months, and his newly-hung galleries, like those of Justi before him, were not opened to the public. Later he was forbidden to teach at the University of Halle, to speak in public, or to publish. He left for the United States in 1940, bringing some installation photographs with him. Schardt's Nachlass documents part of the Nazis' Kulturkampf against expressionist art in the 1930s.

Waterhouse, Ellis Kirkham, notebooks and research files, 1801-1987 (bulk 1924-1979)
British art historian and writer, museum director, editor, teacher, and connoisseur. Collection documents Waterhouse's scholarly career. A major part of the archive consists of 67 notebooks, maintained from 1924 until his death in 1985, in which he recorded in detail every work of art seen in his travels in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Wittmann, Otto, collection of papers relating to the Art Looting Investigation unit of the U.S. War Department's Office of Strategic Services, 1945-1946
Director of the Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art during World War II. The Art Looting Investigation unit was authorized as a project of the OSS, November 21, 1944, to investigate the confiscation of art by the Nazis during World War II and assist in their repatriation. Collection contains 33 reports, memos, transcriptions issued or collected by the Art Looting Investigation unit of the OSS, 1945-1946. Detailed Interrogation Reports of German personnel involved in the theft and sale of confiscated art; a detailed report of the activity of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg in France, responsible for confiscating Jewish-owned collections in France.

In addition to these resources, Collecting and Provenance Research provides access several electronic databases and extensive archival material on the history of ownership of works of art gathered from sales catalogs, archival records, and museum files.


Banner image: Konrad Roethel at the allied Central Collecting Point in Munich (detail), Johannes Felbermeyer (German, d. 1987), 1949, photograph. The Getty Research Institute, 89.P.4