Nazi networks behind the biggest looted art scandal
The book with the same title will appear in August in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. From the research is a bit too famous Hatvany collection stolen by the SS. In the sixties was this triggered the Hans Deutsch-affair. This art collection is probably still in a secret vault in the Saxon Erzgebirge. A project now focuses on the replacement of these masterpieces.
Star-lawyer for compensation matters Hans Deutsch had already won cases amounting to DM 250,000,000.00 for his clients and himself from the German government when on the 3rd of November 1964 the authorities hit hard. Deutsch was arrested at the Federal Ministry of Finance in Bonn. The authorities accused Deutsch of compensation fraud and remanded him in custody for 18 months. At the time, no light was shed on the goings-on behind the scenes. Only many years later did it become clear that one reason was the liquidation of restitution in general- which was almost completely achieved.
Were there any other, further-reaching plans? The ‚Deutsch affair‘ followed a pattern which is too elaborate, too perfect, and such a logistic and propagandistic masterpiece to be merely used for eliminating a lawyer and discrediting restitution. The Deutsch case reminds one of a terrible previous event: the staged attack on the Gleiwitz radio station in 1939 which served as an excuse for Hitler to invade Poland. The charges against Deutsch were professionally falsified and the main incriminating documents fabricated. Were the same masterminds at work, after all? SS members of the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt or simply the headquarters of SS murder) had the best people of the secret service SS around Adolf Eichmann and Ernst Kaltenbrunner infiltrate the German state apparatus in the fifties. Did they now slyly and callously attempt to push ahead ‚their‘ politics within the network of power?
The book traces one of the masterpieces, Veduta del Monte Sinai , which had been stolen from the Hatvany palace in Budapest by the SS in 1944. The looted Hatvany art collection was the reason for Deutsch to be put behind bars: some compensation had already been paid when it was argued later that the payment had been unjusitfied: It wasn’t the Germans, but the Russians who had been the robbers. The famous painting appeared in Naschmarkt in Vienna and was sold to Crete by Sotheby’s.
More than 20 years later, the Mount Sinai is leading to the most influential men of a secret alliance. Is it about old comrades of ODESSA, i.e. the SS plunderers themselves, or their heirs and successors? It is soon beyond doubt that old-boy-Nazi-networks were and are at work. Already in the late nineties they truly stopped at nothing to avoid the truth coming to light. What they had been successful at in 1997, they did not get away with some years later: from all corners of the world documents are being gathered, investigations being done, witnesses being interviewed. All of a sudden the name of the person who owned the painting after the war and who had previously been unknown, leads to the SS, to the RSHA and thus to the core of the very same conspiracy that was out to annihilate the lawyer Hans Deutsch. Things have come full circle: not only are the SS-plotters (once again) threateners against an innocent (Jew), but also the beneficiaries of their own looting.
The book unravels the scheming machinations of former SS agents in the ‚Operation Deutsch‘. The foothold of SS plotters within the German state machinery and their far-reaching intentions bring to the fore the political dimension of the ‚Deutsch affair‘. This alone seems reason enough to cloud the truth. However, there is another motive: money, in the billions. The SS art loot was of a ginormous dimension and is the last chapter of restitution, which is still unclosed. Not only are stolen master pieces of paintings still exhibited in German museums, but for decades they have been hidden, and later planted clandestinely on the international art market by SS people through their networks. The book follows the clues into the establishment. Who are the obscurantists? After all, they do not balk at forging documents, pressurizing people, ruining them if necessary, bribing officials, and they maintain with an iron fist the law of silence. The vow of silence of the SS.
A fact-based political thriller.