Friday 21 June 2013

Russia and Germany Dispute War-Trophy Art

Speeches by Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin at the opening of a major exhibition of Bronze Age treasures were temporarily cancelled because of a long-running disagreement over the looting of art works from territories occupied by the by the Red Army at the end of the Second World War.
The exhibition – Bronze Age, Europe without Borders with more than 1,700 artefacts on display in St Petersburg’s historic Hermitage museum – was supposed to mark the culmination of a Year of Germany in Russia after three years of co-operation between German and Russian curators.[...] But when it emerged that the German leader intended to use her museum speech to insist on the return of hundreds of art works that Germany claims were looted by victorious Soviet soldiers after 1945, the opening ceremony at the Hermitage was suddenly abandoned.[...] It was clear that trouble had been brewing for many weeks after it emerged that some 600 of the exhibits are also listed in Germany as looted works of art. They included the so-called Treasure of Eberswalde, said to be the largest prehistoric hoard ever found in Germany, with 81 separate gold pieces dating from the 9th or 10th century BC, including bowls and beakers, armbands and bracelets. The other most significant part of the treasures that Germany claims were carried off as “war booty” by Soviet soldiers are archaeological remains from the ancient city of Troy. The Hermitage exhibition marks the first time such treasures have been put on public display after years when the former Soviet government denied having them. But their reappearance has inevitably sparked demands in Germany for their return. However, in Russia they are seen as compensation for art works that were looted from Russia by Germany after their invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, and have never been rediscovered.
but of course Troy is not in Russia. Perhaps we should ask Turkey where the stuff belongs? By what right was the Eberswalde hoard taken to Russia? Art taken from Nazi Germany has been shown in Moscow on several occasions in recent years such as a display at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in 2007 and a Moscow Museum of Architecture event in 2003.

read the rest here:
Quentin Peel, Neil Buckley and Charles Clover, 'Russia and Germany in spat over ‘looted’ art', Financial Times June 21, 2013

See also:
Yahoo! UK and Ireland Merkel tells Putin Germany wants looted ', 21 June 2013
Radio Free Europe, ' Russia Denies Merkel Event Canceled Over 'Looted Art' ', 21 June 2013.


Paul Barford said...

Arktur Arkturovich Houtnoski has asked me to post this comment:

"Paul, it warms the heart that these artefacts are where they should be, at the Hermitage Museum, never to be returned to their origin. They were properly seized by the victorious Soviet Army, and whether or not they were properly removed from the Museum collection, they are now a visible reminder of the sacrifices of Soviet citizens and others to put an end to the Nazi regime, safe in the bosom of Mother Russia".

Paul Barford said...

двойные стандарты wrote ...

This material most certainly belongs in the Hermitage Museum. Those that think otherwise are notoriously anti-Soviet.

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