German Court Rules for Nazi-era Poster Claimant

A German court has ruled that Peter Sachs’ is entitled to an entire poster collection seized from his father in 1938.  The elder Sachs received about $50,000 in compensation for the collection which was then believed to have been destroyed. 

From the AP:

The Berlin administrative court ruled that Hans Sachs never gave up ownership of the collection of 12,500 posters taken from his home on the orders of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

Sachs, 71, sued in a test case for the return of two posters — a 1932 poster for “Die Blonde Venus” (“Blonde Venus”) starring Marlene Dietrich, and one for Simplicissimus, a satirical German weekly magazine, showing a red bulldog. The court ruled that it was unclear whether “Die Blonde Venus” was part of his father’s collection, but that there was no doubt about the Simplicissimus poster and that it must be returned to him.

The ruling means that the court has backed the claim of Peter Sachs of Sarasota on the surviving portion of his father’s collection — some 4,000 posters at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, said his attorney ,Matthias Druba.

“We are definitely delighted,” Druba said . “It’s a shame that we didn’t get the Blonde Venus, but in the end what is more important is that the general question has been answered clearly in our favor: Peter is the rightful owner of the collection and he has a claim to get them back; we couldn’t want more.”

The posters include advertisements for exhibitions, cabarets, movies and consumer products, as well as political propaganda — all rare, with only small original print runs.
Only a handful of the posters on display at any given time at the German Historical Museum, but officials maintain they form an integral part of its 80,000-piece collection. The museum also points out that those in storage are regularly viewed by researchers.

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1 thought on “German Court Rules for Nazi-era Poster Claimant”

  1. In the end,this decision is a confirmation that justice will prevail in all cases where objects have been unlawfully seized by the Nazis. It is often the time and the costs involved that discourage claimants. What is remarkable is the role of many museums and other institutions in perpetuating Nazi injustice by putting obstacles in the way of claimants. Negotiated settlements should be preferable and less expensive for all parties. Kwame Opoku.

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