The Holocaust Historiography Project

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A. Formation, Purpose, Powers.

On 29 January 1940 Hitler issued a decree in the following terms:

“The 'Hohe Schule' is supposed to become the center for national-socialistic ideological and educational research. It will be established after the conclusion of the war. I order that the already initiated preparations be continued by Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg, especially in the way of research and the setting up of the library.

“All sections of Party and State are requested to cooperate with him in this task.” (136-PS)

What began as a project for the establishment of a research library developed into a project for the seizure of cultural treasures. (141-PS)

On 1 March 1942 Hitler issued a decree in which he asserted that Jews, Freemasons, and affiliated opponents of National Socialism are the authors of the War against the Reich, and that a systematic spiritual battle against them is a military necessity. The decree thereupon authorized Rosenberg to search libraries, archives, lodges, and cultural establishments, to seize relevant material from these establishments as well as cultural treasures which were the property or in the possession of Jews, which were ownerless, or the origin of which could not be clearly established. The decree directed the cooperation of the Wehrmacht High Command and indicated that Rosenberg’s activities in the West were to be conducted in his capacity as Reichsleiter and in the East in his capacity as Reichsminister. (149-PS)

This decree was implemented by a letter from Dr. Lammers, Reichsminister and Chief of Chancellory, directed to the “highest Reich Authorities and the Services directly subordinate to the Fuehrer.” The letter reiterated the terms of the Hitler decree and requested support of the Reich authorities in Rosenberg’s fulfillment of his task. (154-PS)

B. Scope of Activities.

Rosenberg’s activities in fulfillment of the above decrees were extended, in the West, to France (138-PS), Belgium (139-PS), the Netherlands (140-PS), Luxembourg (137-PS), and Norway and Denmark. (159-PS)


In the East activities were carried out throughout the Occupied Eastern Territories (153-PS), including the Baltic states and the Ukraine (151-PS), as well as in Hungary (158-PS), Greece (171-PS), and Yugoslavia. (071-PS)

The function of the Rosenberg Organization included not only the seizure of books and scientific materials specified in the original Hitler Order (171-PS), but the seizure of private art treasures (1015-B-PS), public art treasures (055-PS0, and household furnishings. (L-188)

C. Cooperating Agencies.

On 5 July 1940 Keitel (Chief of the OKW) informed the Chief of the Army High Command (OKH) and the Chief of the Armed Forces in The Netherlands that the Fuehrer had ordered that Rosenberg’s suggestion be followed, to the effect that certain libraries and archives, chancelleries of high church authorities, and lodges be searched for documents valuable to Germany or indicating political maneuvers directed against Germany, and that such material be seized. The letter further stated that Hitler had ordered the support of the Gestapo and that the Chief of the Sipo (Security Police), SS-Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich had been informed and would communicate with the competent military commanders. (137-PS)

Keitel issued a further order to the Chief of the OKH, France, on 17 September 1940, providing:

“The ownership status before the war in France, prior to the declaration of war on 1 September 1939, shall be the criterion. “Ownership transfers to the French state or similar transfers completed after this date are irrelevant and legally invalid (for example, Polish and Slovak libraries in Paris, possessions of the Palais Rothschild or other ownerless Jewish possessions). Reservations regarding search, seizure and transportation to Germany on the basis of the above reasons will not be recognized.

“Reichsleiter Rosenberg and/or his deputy Reichshauptstellenleiter Ebert has received clear instructions from the Fuehrer personally governing the right of seizure; he is entitled to transport to Germany cultural goods which appear valuable to him and to safeguard them there. The fuehrer has reserved for himself the decision as to their use.

“It is requested that the services in question be informed correspondingly.” (138-PS)

The above order was extended to Belgium on 10 October 1940 (139-PS), and an identical order was issued by the Chief of the OKH to the Armed Forces Commander in The Netherlands on 17 September 1940. (140-PS)

Hitler’s order of 1 March 1942 stated:

“Directions for carrying out this order in cooperation with the Wehrmacht will be issued by the Chief of the Wehrmacht High Command in agreement with Reichsleiter Rosenberg.” (149-PS)

Dr. Lammer’s order of 5 July 1942 declared that the Chief of the OKH, in agreement with Keitel, would issue regulations governing the cooperation with the Wehrmacht and the Police Services for assistance in making seizures. (154-PS)

An official of the Rosenberg Ministry for the Occupied East declared the Wehrmacht to be one of the primary agencies engaged in removing art treasures from Russia. (1107-PS)

Cooperation of the SS and the SD was indicated by Rosenberg in a letter to Bormann on 23 April 1941:

“* * * It is understood that the confiscations are not executed by the regional authorities but that this is conducted by the Security Service as well as by the police. it has been communicated to me in writing by a Gauleiter, that the chief office of the Reich Security (RSHA) of the SS has claimed the following from the library of a monastery:” (071-PS)

The above letter also points out that there has been “* * * close cooperation on the widest scale with the Security Service and the military commanders. * * *

“This affair (Operations in Salonika) has already been executed on our side with the Security Service (SD) in the most loyal fashion.” (071-PS)

The National Socialist Party financed the operations of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg. (090-PS; 145-PS)

In a letter to Goering, 18 June 1942, Rosenberg voiced the opinion that all art objects and other confiscated items should belong to the National Socialist Party because the Party has been bearing the brunt of the battle against the persons and forces from whom this property was taken. (1118-PS)

D. Cooperation of Hermann Goering.

On 5 November 1940, Goering issued an order specifying the distribution to be made of art objects brought to the Louvre. The order lists as second in priority of disposition, “Those art objects which serve to the completion of the Reichsmarshal’s collection” and states that the objects will “be packed and shipped to Germany with the assistance of the Luftwaffe.” (141-PS)

On 1 May 1941 Goering issued an order to all Party, State, and Wehrmacht Services requesting them.

“* * * to give all possible support and assistance to the Chief of Staff of Reichsleiter Rosenberg’s Staff, Reichshauptstellenleiter Party Comrade Utikal, and his deputy DRK- Feldfuehrer Party Comrade von Behr, in the discharge of their duties. The above-mentioned persons are requested to report to me on their work, particularly on any difficulties that might arise.” (1117-PS)

On 30 May 1942, Goering claimed credit for the success of the Einsatzstab:

“* * * On the other hand I also support personally the work of your Einsatzstab wherever I can do so, and a great part of the seized cultural goods can be accounted for because I was able to assist the Einsatzstab by my organizations.” (1015-PS)

E. Method of Operation.

The staff of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg seized not only “abandoned” art treasures but also treasures which had been hidden, or were left in the custody of depots or warehouses, including art treasures that were already packed for shipment to America. (1015-PS)

Robert Scholz, Chief of the Special Staff for Pictorial Art, described the thoroughness with which the Einsatzstab conducted investigations and seizures:

“* * * These seizures were carried out on the basis of preliminary exhaustive investigations into the address lists of the French Police authorities, on the basis of Jewish handbooks, warehouse inventories and order books of French shipping firms as well as on the basis of French art and collection catalogs.

“* * * The seizure of ownerless Jewish works of art has gradually extended over the whole French territory.” (1015-B-PS)

In the East, members of Rosenberg’s staff operated directly behind the front in close cooperation with the infantry. (035-PS)

Von Behr, in a progress report dated 8 August 1944, described the method of seizing household furnishings.

“The confiscation of Jewish homes was effected in most cases in such a way that the so-called confiscation officials went from house to house when no records were available of the addresses of Jews who had departed or fled, as was the case for example, in Paris * * * They drew up inventories of these homes and subsequently sealed them … “The goods are dispatched first, to large collecting camps from where they are turned over, sorted out and loaded for Germany.

“* * * work shops were established for cabinet-makers, watchmakers, shoemakers, electricians, radio experts, furriers, etc. All incoming goods were diligently sorted out and those not ready for use were repaired. Moreover special boxes were dispatched for the use of special trades * * * “For the sorting out of the confiscated furniture and goods on the invisible assembly line and for the packing and loading, exclusive use was made of interned Jews. Because of its experience as to confiscation, as to working systems within the camps, and as to transportation, the Office West was able to reorganize their entire working system and thus to succeed in providing for the use in Germany of even things which appeared to be valueless such as scrap paper, rags, salvage, etc. * * *” (L-188).

F. Nature, Extent, and Value of Property Seized.

(1) Books, manuscripts, documents, and incunabula. A report on the library of the “Hohe Schule,” prepared by Dr. Wunder, lists the most significant book collections belonging to the library and confiscated by the Einsatzstab Rosenberg in accordance with the orders of the Fuehrer, as follows (171-PS):


Alliance Israelite Universelle… 40,000 Vols.

Ecole Rabbinique… 10,000 Vols.

Federation de Societe des Juifs de France…4,000 Vols.

Lipschuetz Bookstore, Paris…20,000 Vols.

Rothschild Family, Paris…28,000 Vols.

Rosenthaliana, Amsterdam…20,000 Vols.

Sefardischen Jewish Community, Amsterdam…25,000 Vols.

Occupied Eastern Territories…280,000 Vols.

Jewish Community, Greece…10,000 Vols.

“Special Action", Rhineland…5,000 Vols.

Other sources…100,000 Vols


An undated report on the activities of the Einsatzstab Working Group, Netherlands, lists Masonic Lodges and other organizations whose libraries and archives have been seized. The report states that 470 cases of books had already been packed and reports materials seized from 92 separate lodges of the “Droit Human", the “Groot Oosten", the “IOOF” and the “Rotary Club". An additional 776 cases containing approximately 160,000 volumes were seized from the International Institute for Social History at Amsterdam. An additional 170 cases were seized from the “Theosophischen Society” and other organizations. (176-PS)

The report further states that the value of the above works is between 30 million and 40 million Reichsmarks. Additional materials to be derived from other sources, including 100,000 volumes from the “Rosenthaliana” collection are estimated to have a value of three times that of the above, or an additional 90 million to 120 million Reichsmarks. The estimated over-all value is thus between 120 and 160 million Reichsmarks. (176-PS0

(2) Household furnishings. The entire furniture seizure action, known as “Action M", is summarized in a report of Von Behr, Chief of the Office West, dated 8 August 1944. The report furnished the following statistics on results up to 1 July 1944:

Jewish homes confiscated…71,619

Loading capacity required…cu. ms…1,079,373

Railroad cars required…26,984

Foreign currency and securities confiscated…RM…11,695,516

Scrap metal, scrap paper, and textiles dispatched…kgms…3,191,352


The report goes on to list i detail the number of boxes of miscellaneous items seized, including china (199 boxes), curtains (72 boxes), coat hangers (120 boxes), toys (99 boxes), bottles (730 boxes), etc. The report concludes with an itemized statement of the number of wagons dispatched to various cities throughout Germany, to German camps, to SS Divisions, the German State Railways, the Postal Service, and the Police. (L-188)

(3) Works of Art (East). With reference to the work of the Einsatzstab in the Eastern Territories, Robert Scholz reported as follows:

“In the course of the evacuation of the territory several hundred most valuable Russian ikons, several hundred Russian paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, individual articles of furniture and furniture from castles were saved in cooperation with the individual Army Groups, and brought to a shelter in the Reich.” (1015-B-PS)

In August 1943, just prior to the loss of Charcow by the Germans, 300 paintings of West European masters and Ukrainian painters, and 25 valuable Ukrainian carpets, mostly from the Charcow museum, were packed and shipped by the Einsatzstab. (707-PS)

Reporting on the withdrawal from the Ukraine, Staff Director Utikal accounted for the removal of the following materials:

From the Museum of Art a Charcow:

Ukrainian paintings…96

Western European paintings…185

Wood carvings and etchings…12

Carpets and tapestries…25

From the Ukrainian museum in Kiev:

Textiles of all sorts.

Collection of valuable embroidery patterns.

Collection of brocades.

Numerous items of wood, etc. (035-PS0)

In addition Utikal reported shipment of a total of 131 cases containing: 10,186 books, the catalog of the “East” library, art folios, samples of magazines, Bolshevist pictures, and Bolshevist films. Utikal also stated:

“Moreover an essential part of the prehistoric museum was transported away.” (035-PS)

Another report on the shipment of works of art from the Ukraine, 12 September 1944, indicated the value of the contents of 85 chests of art objects:

“There are a great many of the oldest ikons, works of famous masters of the German, Dutch and Italian schools of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, as well as works of the best Russian artists of the 18th and 19th centuries. On the whole, the contents include the most valuable works of the known Ukrainian art possession, which in themselves represent a value of many millions after a cursory appraisal.” (055-PS)

Attached to the above report is a detailed inventory listing hundreds of individual objects.

Additional evidence as to the extent of material seized in Kiev is found in a secret note, 17 June 1944, dealing with measures taken prior to the Russian Occupation. The note reported the taking of materials from museums, archives, institutions, etc., during the autumn of 1943 on the order of the Einsatzstab and of the Reichs-commissar. During October there were sent to the Reich 40 Railway trucks, carrying mostly goods belonging to the Central Research Institute of the Ukraine. The report concluded with the statement that when the Soviets entered the town nothing of value was left. (1109-PS)

On 28 September 1941, the General Commissar for White Ruthenia reported the seizure of art treasures in the area of Minsk, destined for Konigsberg and Linz. The value of these confiscations was stated to amount to millions of marks. (1099-PS)

(4) Works of Art (West). The Robert Scholz report declared that.

“During the period from March 1941 to July 1944, the Special Staff for Pictorial Art brought into the Reich:

29 large shipments including 137 freight cars with 4,174 cases of art works.” (1015-PS)

The report stated that a total of 21,903 art objects of all types had been counted and inventoried, and stated:

“With this scientific inventory of a material unique in its scope and importance and of a value hitherto unknown to art research, the Special Staff for Pictorial Art has conducted a work important to the entire field of art. This inventory work will form the basis of an all-inclusive scientific catalog in which should be recorded history, scope and scientific and political significance of this historically unique art seizure.” (1015-B-PS)

The following is a summary of the inventory attached to the report:





Hand-made art objects…5,825

East Asiatic objects…1,286




The report stated that the above figures would be increased since seizures in the West were not yet completed and it had not been possible to make a scientific inventory of part of the seized objects because of the lack of exports. (1015-B-PS)

As early as 28 January 1941, Rosenberg stated, with reference to properties seized in France alone:

“* * * the value involved will come close to a billion Reichsmarks.” (090-PS)

Scholz, in his report on activities from March 1941 to July 1944, expressed the value of the seizures as follows:

“The extraordinary artistic and material value of the seized art works cannot be expressed in figures. The paintings, period furniture of the 17th and 18th Centuries, the Gobelins, the antiques and renaissance jewelry of the Rothschid’s are objects of such a unique character that their evaluation is impossible, since no comparable values have so far appeared on the art market.

“A short report, moreover, can only hint at the artistic worth of the collections. Among the seized paintings, pastels and drawings there are several hundred works of the first quality, masterpieces of European art, which could take first place in any museum. Included therein are absolutely authenticated signed works of Rembrandt van Rijn, Rubens, Frans Hals, Vermeer van Delft, Valasquez, Murillo, Goya, Sebastiano del Piombo, Palma Vecchio, etc.

“Of first importance among the seized paintings are the works of the famous French painters of the 18th Century, with masterpieces of Boucher, Watteau, Rigaud, Largielliere, Rattler, Fragonard, Pater, Danloux and de Troy.

“This collection can compare with those of the best European museums. It includes many works of the foremost French masters, who up to now have been only inadequately represented in the best German museums. Very important also is the representation of masterpieces of the Dutch Painters of the 17th and 18th Centuries. First of all should be mentioned the works of van Dyck, Saloman and Jacob Ruisdal, Wouvermann, Terborch, Jan Weenix, Gabriel Metsu, Adrian van Ostade, David Teniers, Pieter de Hooch, Willem van der Velde, etc.

“Of foremost importance also are the represented works of English painting of the 18th and early 19th centuries, with masterpieces of Reynolds, Romney, and Gainsborough. Cranach and Amberger, among the German masters, should be mentioned.

“The collection of French furniture of the 17th and 18th centuries is perhaps even more highly to be evaluated. This contains hundreds of the best preserved and, for the most part, signed works of the best known cabinet-makers from the period between Louis XIV to Louis XVI. Since German cabinetmakers played an important part in this golden age of French cabinetry, now recognized for the first time in the field of art, this collection is of paramount importance. “The collection of Gobelins and Persian tapestries contains numerous world-famous objects. The collection of handicraft works and the Rothschild collection of renaissance jewelry is valuable beyond comparison.” (1015-B-PS)

The report refers to 25 portfolios of pictures of the most valuable works of the art collections seized in the West, which portfolios were presented to the Fuehrer. Ten additional portfolios are stated to be in preparation. Thirty-nine leatherbound volumes prepared by the Einsatzstabl contain photographs of paintings, textiles, furniture, candelabra, and numerous other objects of art and illustrate the magnitude and value of the collection made by Einsatzstab Rosenberg.


A. Confiscatory Laws and Decrees

In October 1939 Goering issued a verbal order to Dr. Muehlmann asking him to undertake the immediate securing of all Polish art treasures. (1709-PS)

On 15 November 1939, Hans Frank, Governor-General for the Occupied Polish Territories, issued a decree providing in part:

“Article 1. 1. All movable and stationary property of the Former Polish State will be sequestered for the purpose of securing all manner of public valuables.” (1773-PS).

On 16 December 1939, Frank issued a decree providing in part:

“Article 1. All art objects in public possession in the General Government will be confiscated for the fulfillment of public tasks of common interest insofar as it has not already been seized under the decree on the confiscation of the wealth of the former polish State in the General Government of 15 November 1939 (Verordnungsblatt GGP, p. 37).

“Article 2. With the exception of art collections and art objects which were the property of the former Polish State, art objects will be considered as owned by the public:

“1. Private art collections which have been taken under protection by the special commissioner for the seizure and safekeeping of the art and cultural treasures.

“2. All ecclesiastical art property with the exception of those objects required for the daily performance of liturgic actions.

“Article 3. 1. In order to determine whether art objects are public property in the sense of this regulation, every private and ecclesiastical art possession has to be registered with exact data on the kind, nature and number of pieces.

“2. Everyone who possessed or at the present time is in possession of or else is entitled to dispose of such objects of art since 15 March 1939, is obliged to register the same.” (1773-PS)

In order to implement the above decree, the following registration decree was issued in the name of the Governor General by Dr. Muehlmann, Special Deputy for the Securing of Art Treasures:

“Article 2. 1. Objects of artistic, cultural-historical and historical value which originate from the time before 1850, have to be registered.

“2. The registration includes the following:

“a. Paintings.

“b. Sculpture.

“c. Products of handicraft (for instance antique furniture, chinaware, glass, golden and silver objects, Gobelins, rugs, embroideries, lacework, parchmente, etc.).

“d. Drawings, engravings, etc.

“e. Rare manuscripts, musical manuscripts, autographs, book-paintings, miniatures, prints, covers, etc.

“f. Weapons, armors, etc.

“g. Coins, medals, seals, etc.

“3. Regarding the art objects mentioned in section 2, detailed information has to be given if possible, on the master, the time of production, the contents of the representation, measurements and material (for instance, wood, canvas, bronze, etc.).” (1773-PS)

The seizures authorized by the above decrees ripened into confiscation and assumption of ownership by the General Government, with the issuance of the following decree by Frank on 24 September 1940:

“Article 1. The property sequestered on the basis of Article 1, section 1 of the decree on the confiscation of the wealth of the former Polish State within the General government of 15 November 1939 (Verordnungsblatt GGP, page 37) will be transferred to the ownership of the General Government.” (1773-PS)

Heinrich Himmler, as Reichscommissioner for the Strengthening of Germanism, issued an “urgent decree” to the regional officers of the Secret Police in the Annexed Eastern Territories and the Commanders of Security Service in Krakau (Charkow), Radom, Warsaw, and Lublin. The decree, 1 December 1939, was circulated on 16 December 1939, the same date as the promulgation for execution of the Art Seizure program. (R-143)

B. Purpose of Art Seizures.

The purpose of the Seizure Program is indicated in the aforementioned Himmler decree:


“1. To strengthen Germanism in the defense of the Reich all articles mentioned in Section II of this decree are hereby confiscated. This applies to all articles located in the territories annexed by the Fuehrer’s and Reich Chancellor’s decree of 12/10/39, and the General Government for the Occupied Polish Territories. They are confiscated for the benefit of the German Reich and are at the disposal of the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of Germanism.”


“All confiscations made before this decree by authorities of the Reich Fuehrer SS and the Chief of German Police and the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of Germanism are hereby confirmed. They are to be regarded as made for the benefit of the German Reich and are at the disposal of the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of Germanism.' (R-143)

The methodical nature of the Art Seizure Program, and the existence of a general policy of confiscation of art treasures, is indicated in section V of Himmler’s decree:

“In due course the usual questionnaires for cataloguing confiscated articles are to be sent to the Chief Custodian East.” (R-143)

the intention to enrich Germany by the seizures rather than merely to protect the seized objects is indicated in a report by Dr. Hans Posse, Director of the Dresden State Picture Gallery:

“I was able to gain some knowledge on the public and private collections as well as clerical property in Cracow and Warsaw. It is true that we cannot hope too much to enrich ourselves from the acquisition of great Art works, of paintings and sculptures, with the exception of the Veit-Stoss Altar and the plates of Hans Von Kulmbach in the Church of Maria in Cracow…and several other works from the National Museum in Warsaw. * * *” (1600-PS)

The avowed purpose of the art treasure seizures was the promulgation of German Culture throughout the Occupied East:

“* * * the result is put down in the catalogue together with reproductions, and this is a definite proof of the penetration of the East by the German Cultural urge.” (1233-PS)

C. Nature, Extent, and Value of Property Seized.

Virtually the entire art possession of Poland, private as well as public, was seized by the General Government (1233-PS). In a catalogue of the more important works of art seized by the General Government, paragraph 1 of the Foreword contains the following admission:

“On the basis of the decree of the General Governor for the Occupied Polish Territories of December 16, 1939, the Special Delegate for the Safeguarding of Treasures of Art and Culture was able in the course of six months to secure almost the entire art treasure of the country, with one single exception: the Flemish Gobelin series from the castle in Cracow. According to the latest information, these are kept in France, so that it will be possible to secure them eventually.” (1233-PS)

The nature and extent of materials seized by the General Government is indicated in Document 1709-PS. The document mentions: those of primary importance ("Reich-important"), and those of secondary importance. Articles of primary importance, totaling 521 separate objects, are also set forth in a descriptive catalogue. (1233-PS)

The articles catalogued include paintings by German, Italian, Dutch, French, and Spanish masters, rare illustrated books, Indian and Persian miniatures, woodcuts, the famous Veit-Stoss hand-carved alter, handicraft articles of gold and silver, antique furniture, articles of crystal, glass and porcelain, tapestries, antique weapons, rare cons, and medals. The objects were seized from both public and private sources, including the National Museum in Cracow and the National Museum in Warsaw, the cathedrals of Warsaw and Lublin, a number of churches and monasteries, the Chateau of the Kings in Warsaw, university and other libraries, and a large number of private collections of the Polish nobility (1709-PS)

Items placed in the second category are of the same nature as those placed in category I. Approximately 500 separate items are catalogued, many of the items including a large number of separate objects treated under a single catalogue heading. (1709-PS)

The value of the objects seized from 22 collections is stated to be 9,437,000 Zloty. The materials referred to are only a portion of those selected as being of secondary importance. No valuation is given as to the balance of the items of secondary importance or as to the 521 objects selected as being of primary importance. (1709-PS)

D. Evidence That Seizures Were Not Merely for Protective Purposes.

In Dr. Posse’s report (1600-PS), a number of items are referred to which may be found in the catalogue of art objects “made secure” (1233-PS)

“I was able to gain some knowledge on the public and private collections as well as clerical property in Cracow and Warsaw. It is true that we cannot hope too much to enrich ourselves from the acquisition of great Art works, of paintings and sculptures, with the exception of the Veit-Stoss alter and the plates of Hans von Kulmbach in the Church of Maria in Cracow, the Raphael, Leonardo and Rembrandt from the collection Czartoryski, and several other works from the National Museum in Warsaw, * * * works of a rather high value of whose existence we in Germany had already Known. Richer and more extensive is the Polish stock of objects d' art', such as handicraft in gold and silver, of German origin to a large part, particularly from the Church of Maria and the Cathedral of Wawel, tapestries, arms, porcelains, furniture, bronzes, coins, valuable parchment scrips, books, etc. * * *”

“As I said before, I shall not be able to make proposals regarding the distribution as long as an inventory of the entire material does not exist. However, I should like to reserve for the museum at Linz the three most important paintings of the Czartoryski collection, namely the Raphael, Leonardo and Rembrandt which are at present in the Kaiser-Frederick Museum in Berlin. We in Dresden are particularly interested in the interior decorations of the castle of the Kings in Warsaw since Saxonian architects and artists have created them; therefore, the suggestion is made that the salvaged parts of it (panellings, doors, inlaid floors, sculptures, mirrors, glasschandeliers, porcelains, etc.) be used for the interior decoration of the Pavillion of the 'Zivinges' in Dresden.” (1600-PS)

The following items listed in the above report are also listed in the catalogue

Item Catalog No.

Veit-Stoss Altar…241

Hans Vol Kulmbach Works…22




Church of Maria Handicraft…262-265, 279, 280

From Jagellonic Library…166, 167, 186, 199, 203, 206, 209, 202, 212, 215-224

(See 1233-PS, 1600-PS.)

Appendix 8 of Document 1709-PS lists a large number of objects which were turned over to Architect Koettgen. The items listed include, in addition to paintings, tapestries, etc., plates, dishes, cups and saucers, vases, cream pitchers, glasses, a bread basket, a service tray, and other items of table service. These objects were turned over to Architect for the purpose of furnishing the Castle at Cracow and Schloss Kressendorf for the Governor. (1709-PS)

A number of objects were transported out of Poland and placed in Berlin in the Depot of the Special Deputy or in the safe of the Deutsche Bank (1709-PS). Items at this location are also listed in the catalog (1233-PS) as numbers 4, 17, 27, 35, 42, 45, 47, 51, 138, 141, 145, and 148.

Thirty-one sketches by Durer were taken from the collection Lubomierski in Lemberg:

“The Special Deputy has personally handed over these sketches in July 1941 to the Reichsmarshal who took them to the Fuehrer at headquarters where they remain at the present time. On express direction of the Fuehrer they will stay in his possession for the time being.” (1709-PS)

All art objects seized were screened for those which were important from the German point of view:

“The Reich-important pieces were collected in a catalogue of the so called 'First Choice'. One copy of this catalogue has been submitted to the Fuehrer who reserved to himself the first decision as to location and use of the art objects of the 'First Choice'” (1709-PS)

Dr. Muehlmann, the “Special Deputy for the Safeguarding of Art Treasures” in the General Government, has confirmed that it was the policy and purpose of the art seizure program to confiscate the art treasures and to retain them for the benefit of Germany:

“I confirm, that it was the official policy of the Governor General, Hans Frank, to take into custody all important art treasures, which belonged to Polish public institutions, private collections and the Church. I confirm, that the art treasures, mentioned, were actually confiscated, and it is clear to me, that they would not have remained in Poland in case of a German victory, but that they would have been used to complement German artistic property.” (3043-PS)


Document Description Vol. Page
  Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Article 6 (b) I 5
  International Military Tribunal, Indictment Number 1, Sections III; VIII (E) I 15, 43
3737-PS Hague Convention of 1907 respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Annex Articles 46, 47, 56 VI 597, 599
  Note: A single asterisk (*) before a document indicates that the document was received in evidence at the Nurnberg trial. A double asterisk (**) before a document number indicates that the document was referred to during the trial but was not formally received in evidence, for the reason given in parentheses following the description of the document. The USA series number, given in parentheses following the description of the document, is the official exhibit number assigned by the court.    
*015-PS Letter and report of Rosenberg to Hitler, 16 April 1943, concerning seizure of ownerless Jewish art possessions. (USA 387)… III 41
035-PS Report, 26 October 1943, regarding security measures by Main division Ukraine during withdrawal of Armed Forces… III 75
055-PS Report, 12 September 1944, concerning works of art shipped from the Ukraine… III 99
*071-PS Rosenberg letter to Bormann, 23 April 1941, replying to Bormann’s letter of 19 April 1941 (Document 072-PS). (USA 371)… III 119
*090-PS Letter from Rosenberg to Schwarz, 28 January 1941, concerning registration and collection of art treasures. (USA 372)… III 148
*136-PS Certified copy of Hitler Order, 29 January 1940, concerning establishment of “Hohe Schule". (USA 367)… III 184
*137-PS Copy of Order from Keitel to Commanding General of Netherlands, 5 July 1940, to cooperate with the Einsatizstab Rosenberg. (USA 379)… III 185
138-PS Copy of Order from Keitel to Commanding General of France, 17 September 1940, to cooperate with the Einsatzstab Rosenberg… III 186
139-PS Reineke order, 10 October 1940, concerning instructions to be given to Military Administration in Belgium to cooperate with Einsatzstab Rosenberg… III 187
140-PS Reineke order, 30 October 1940, supplementing order of 17 September 1940 (Document 138-PS)… III 187
*141-PS Goering Order, 5 November 1940, concerning seizure of Jewish art treasures. (USA 368)… III 188
*145-PS Order signed by Rosenberg, 20 August 1941, concerning safeguarding the cultural goods in the Occupied Eastern Territories (USA 373)… III 189
*149-PS Hitler Order, 1 March 1942, establishing authority of Einsatzstab Rosenberg. (USA 369)… III 190
151-PS Rosenberg Order, 7 April 1942, concerning safeguarding of cultural goods, research material and Scientific Institutions in Occupied Eastern Territories… III 191
*153-PS Rosenberg Order, 27 April 1942, for formation of central unit for seizure of art treasures in occupied Eastern Territories. (USA 381)… III 192
*154-PS Letter from Lammers to high State and Party authorities, 5 July 1942, confirming Rosenberg’s powers. (USA 370)… III 193
*158-PS Message, 1 June 1944, initialed Utikal, Chief of Einsatzstab, concerning missions in Hungary. (USA 382)… III 199
*159-PS Message, 6 June 1944, initialed Utitkal, Chief of Einsatzstab, concerning missions in Denmark and Norway. (USA 380)… III 199
*171-PS Undated report on the Jewish Question” by the Hohe Schule District Office. (USA 383)… III 200
*176-PS Report on Einsatzstab Rosenberg, Working Group Netherlands, signed Schimmer. (USA 707)… III 203
707-PS Letters, June-October 1943 concerning evacuation of the museum of Charkow… III 516
1015-B-PS Report on activities of Special Staff for Pictorial Art, October 1940 to July 1944… III 666
*1015-I-PS Letter from Goering to Rosenberg, 30 May 1942. (USA 385)… III 670
1015-GG-PS Inventory of art objects — attached to a report (Document 1015-B-PS)… III 671
1099-PS Letter from Kube, General Commissar White Ruthenia, to Rosenberg, 28 September 1941… III 781
1107-PS Office memorandum, 17 May 1944, in Rosenberg Ministry concerning the Wehrmacht’s function in removing treasures from the USSR… III 789
1109-PS Note signed by Dr. Ullman, 17 June 1944, concerning Bolshevic Atrocity Propaganda… III 791
*1117-PS Goering Order, 1 May 1941 concerning establishment of Einsatzstab Rosenberg in all Occupied Territories. (USA 384)… III 793
1118-PS Letter from Rosenberg to Goering, 18 June 1942, and related correspondence… III 793
*1233-PS Printed catalog undated, concerning secured objects of art in the Government General (Poland). (USA 377)… III 850
*1600-PS Bormann correspondence, 1940-1941,concerning confiscation of religious art treasures. (USA 690)… IV 128
*1709-PS Report of Special Delegate for art seizures, July 1943. (USA 378)… IV 211
*1773-PS Decree on sequestration of property of former Polish State in the General Government, 15 November 1939, published in The Law of the General Government, pp.E810, E845, E846. (USA 376)… IV 346
*2523-PS Account of conversation between Goering and Bunjes. (USA 783)… V 258
*3042-PS Affidavit of Dr. Kajetan Muehlmann, 19 November 1945. (USA 375)… V 754
3766-PS Report prepared by the German Army in France 1942 concerning removal of French art objects through the German Embassy and the Einsatzstab Rosenberg in France… VI 646
3814-PS Correspondence between Hans Frank, Lammers and various witnesses to the conduct of Frank, February 1945… VI 739
*L-188 Report of 8 August 1944, on confiscation up to 31 July 1944. (USA 386)… VII 1022
R-143 Himmler decree, 1 December 1939, concerning procedure for confiscation of works of art, archives, and documents… VIII 246
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