Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Document No. 1600-PS

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The State-Picture Gallery in Dresden

The Director. Dresden-Al, 1 June 1940.
To: Ministerialrat Dr. Hanssen
Berlin W 8, Wilhelmstr. 64

Dear Ministerialrat!

Permit me to express my thanks for having sent me the copy of the letter of the State Secretary Dr. Landfried.

I herewith enclose a copy of my letter of 16 March 1940 to Reichsleiter Bormann, referring mainly to the confiscated property of the convents in the Ostmark. In accordance with the Fuehrers decree on Jewish property, a generally applicable procedure may be recommended in this case, too; the Fuehrer should have the final word in the distribution to the individual consumers, rather the first option on any purchase. This regulation should be made to be retroactive as of the time of the assumption of power if possible.

Heil Hitler!
Yours faithfully
H. Posse.

1 enclosure.

At the Fuehrer's present HQ, 16 Jan 41 Bo/Fu

1. Director Dr. Posse, Dresden-Hellerau


Tunnigtweg 14

Dear Dr. Posse!

Enclosed herewith I am sending you the pictures of the altar from the convent in Hohenfurth near Kruman. The convent and its entire property shall be confiscated in the immediate future because of the attitude, hostile towards the State, of its inhabitants.

It shall be up to you to decide whether the pictures shall remain in the convent at Hohenfurth or be transferred to the museum in Linz after the latter shall be completed.

I await your decision in the matter.

Heil Hitler!
Faithfully yours,
[initialed by Bormann]

2. Presented again: 3 May 1941.

Dresden-Al, 16 May 1941

The State-Picture Gallery in Dresden.

The Director.
The Reichsleiter Martin Bormann,
Berlin W 8, Wilhelmstr. 64


Dear Reichsleiter!

I report that I have returned today from a weeks trip to Oberdonau and Vienna. Besides checking on the confiscated convents and monasteries, the main reason for my trip to Linz and Oberdonau was to find out whether any of the confiscated convents offered facilities suitable for temporarily storing the collections acquired by the Fuehrer.

After having seen the convents at Hohenfurth, St. Florian, Krenesmunster, Schloegel, Wilhering etc., and after having discussed the matter with Gauleiter Eigruber and his deputies, I found that the convent in Krenesmunster is extremely suited for this purpose. There are in this convent 50-60 rooms that can be locked; the various new acquisitions can be stored there temporarily. There is also the "Emperor's Stall" there, 25 m long, and a flight of 7 rooms in good shape, at present the picture-gallery of the convent, not very valuable, is on exposition. From time to time, the newly acquired collections may be presented to the Fuehrer there.

Krenesmunster is situated in the woods, far away from industrial area; therefore, a threat from the air hardly exists.

In case the Fuehrer should agree with the proposal to have Krenesmunster as a depot for Linz, it is suggested that the Germans from Bessarabia who are at present living in the convent, be moved into another convent, in order to safeguard the stocks, particularly against fire.

Therefore, I beg to have the Fuehrer state his intentions regarding their proposal which is also supported by Gauleiter Eigruber not only is the collection Lanz in Amsterdam, packed in the meantime, awaiting, also several other collections of paintings for which there'd hardly be space enough in Munich, are ready, and so is Dr. Topfer's library which was bought in Switzerland. Also very Reich stocks, already packed and stored in Vienna, confiscated from Jewish owners, and many new acquisitions from Vienna could be brought to Krenesmunster. This way, room could be made in Vienna and what remains of confiscated art-treasures could be distributed.

Heil Hitler!
Yours faithfully
H. Posse.

Report on the trip, undertaken on orders to Cracow and Warsaw, so as to ascertain the kind and the amount of confiscated art-treasures.

It was impossible to carry out the order as such, as well as that part of it which drafting of a plan as to how to dispose of the confiscated art treasures, since most of them were still packed away in cases and were either stored in Cracow, or in other places, particularly in Warsaw ready for shipment to Cracow.

Since 6 October, under the direction of Understate secretary Dr. Muhlmann, as the special deputy of General Field Marshall Goering and as the Director of the Department of Science and Training, the storing of all the valuable Art treasures has been in full swing with assistance of suitable experts from Berlin, Vienna, and Breslau, and, so far as I could determine it has been almost completely carried out.

Works of art and culture, mainly from Warsaw were saved, particularly from the badly damaged chateau of the Kings whose furniture and interior decorations were salvaged to a large extent. In Cracow, box-cars containing the works of art secured from public, clerical and private ownership arrived almost daily. The Art treasures are being collected in the particularly suitable building of the Jagellonic Library in Cracow and are being set up there properly, a task which may be finished by February 1940. As soon as the task of collecting shall be finished and an inventory is made so that a complete survey of the entire valuable Polish Art-treasure can be made, I shall again travel to Cracow so as to carry out the order given me.

The official pictorial service is photographing all important works of art little by little. The governor general shall present these pictures in the form of a photo-Album to the Fuehrer.

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 there with the exception of the Veit Stoss-altar and the plates of Hans von Kulmbach in the Church of Maria in Cracow, the Raffael, Leonardo and rembrandt from the collection Czarborpki 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. Those were the principal fields of interest for Polish collectors, besides their interest in Polish National Art, particularly of the 19th century. It is characteristic that apart from original paintings so many copies can be found in Polish castles and private collections (for example Czartoryski, Wilano etc). However, many thousand works of art of all kinds ought to be found in the Jagellonic Library.

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 in Linz the three most important paintings of the Czartoryski collection, namely the Raffael, 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, glass-chandeliers, porcelains etc) be used for the interior decoration of the Pavillion of the "Zivinges" in Dresden.

A number of fine drawings of Albrecht Durer's and other old German masters kept in the Ossolinemm in Lemberg, has fallen into Russian hands. Maybe at least Durer's 27 pieces could still be salvaged for Germany.

While in Warsaw, a Polish colleague of mine whom I have known, for quite some time told me that the storing of the art treasures was begun already in June 1939; by the end of July the entire official museum property was packed in cases and ready for shipment. In spite of that the Poles did not manage to carry any important stocks away and save them for themselves, with the exception of the famous tapestry, collection of Wawel, the riding costumes kept there also, arms and historically valuable pieces like the blood-banner of the Prophet which, as far as I could ascertain, fell into Russian hands.

/s/ Hans Posse.
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946

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