Stolen Art: WW2 and Jewish Art Collections with Dr. Katerina Prusova

Stolen Art: WW2 and Jewish Art Collections with Dr. Katerina Prusova


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This seminar provides rare insights into the systemic looting and stealing of art, property, and businesses carried out by the Nazi regime during World War II. We will go in-depth to the stories of a selection of wealthy Jewish families in Bohemia and Moravia and learn about how their family treasures were stolen or forcefully donated to the National Gallery and other state institutions.

We will begin by meeting the Petschek family, one of the wealthiest and most influential families in interwar Czechoslovakia, whose coal business was taken over by Herman Göring. Their famous art collection ended up in the homes of high ranking Nazi leaders and in German galleries. We will also explore the world of Jewish sugar bosses and their magnificent villas in Bohemia, including the home designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Fritz Tugendhat. We’ll learn how the modernist architectural masterpiece was confiscated by the Third Reich and then by the Communists. We will finish up by learning about Jindrich Waldes, one of the greatest collectors of modern and abstract art of the time who exchanged his collection for his release from Buchenwald, a former Nazi concentration camp.

Led by an expert in Art History and Jewish Studies, Dr. Katerina Prusova, this interactive seminar exposes how the Nazis used complex bureaucratic systems to confiscate the property of Jews (or others detained by the government) during World War II. Calling it “valorization of property,” the Nazis created a complicated process, often involving private institutions, to seize objects of great value.

Participants will come away with an increased understanding of the historical and political context and the role of bureaucracy in World War II events. They will discover the little known history of the famous villas and palaces and get rare insights into the world of the major art collections once possessed by important Jewish families.

Dr. Katerina Prusova has been teaching Art History, classes on the Holocaust, Jewish history, and Jewish culture at Charles University in Prague since 2009. A Context expert since 2013, she has long-term experience in archive research on looted art and assets. She holds a PhD
in Art History.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 11 reviews
55%
(6)
18%
(2)
9%
(1)
18%
(2)
0%
(0)
B
B.

Guest did not leave comment

V
V.
Very interesting but not quite on topic

I learned a lot from this seminar but it was more focused on the takeover of Czechoslovakia by Hitler and on the biographies of the immensely wealthy Jewish families of the time than on the stolen art itself and the aftermath of WWII in terms of the art that was stolen, the process of identifying it and of locating heirs. The presenter is very good, clearly has expertise in this topic, and during the Q+A she provided another slide show that went a little further on the topic.

A
A.
Not what I expected

Based on the publicized description of the seminar, I was really hoping to learn about the Nazi-looted art collections of some of the families that you never hear about - - basically, more than just the Rothschilds, etc. Unfortunately, that was not what this lecture was about. If you want to learn about WW2 in the region of Czechoslovakia, the geography, the political players, the policies and such, then this seminar might interest you. However, I never saw a single piece of the looted art in this presentation until the 70-minute mark, and then only a few images. In the latter portion of the lecture, you do learn a bit about some of the referenced Jewish families, their industries and their villas, both interiors and exteriors, but very little about their art collections. By no means is this an art history lecture.

From a structural point of the view, the presentation was also a disappointment. It was quite disjointed and did not flow well. The presenter is easily distracted and and often takes tangents. While it seems like a nice idea to monitor the Chat in real time, it doesn't serve the group well if the comment/question is not on-topic and interrupts the logical progression.

n
n.
n/a

n/a

F
F.
Great emphasis on some interesting families

She focused upon some of the great families who had collected art in their palaces . I couples well with the new book the Last Palace which I read recently.

Customer Reviews

Based on 11 reviews
55%
(6)
18%
(2)
9%
(1)
18%
(2)
0%
(0)
B
B.

Guest did not leave comment

V
V.
Very interesting but not quite on topic

I learned a lot from this seminar but it was more focused on the takeover of Czechoslovakia by Hitler and on the biographies of the immensely wealthy Jewish families of the time than on the stolen art itself and the aftermath of WWII in terms of the art that was stolen, the process of identifying it and of locating heirs. The presenter is very good, clearly has expertise in this topic, and during the Q+A she provided another slide show that went a little further on the topic.

A
A.
Not what I expected

Based on the publicized description of the seminar, I was really hoping to learn about the Nazi-looted art collections of some of the families that you never hear about - - basically, more than just the Rothschilds, etc. Unfortunately, that was not what this lecture was about. If you want to learn about WW2 in the region of Czechoslovakia, the geography, the political players, the policies and such, then this seminar might interest you. However, I never saw a single piece of the looted art in this presentation until the 70-minute mark, and then only a few images. In the latter portion of the lecture, you do learn a bit about some of the referenced Jewish families, their industries and their villas, both interiors and exteriors, but very little about their art collections. By no means is this an art history lecture.

From a structural point of the view, the presentation was also a disappointment. It was quite disjointed and did not flow well. The presenter is easily distracted and and often takes tangents. While it seems like a nice idea to monitor the Chat in real time, it doesn't serve the group well if the comment/question is not on-topic and interrupts the logical progression.

n
n.
n/a

n/a

F
F.
Great emphasis on some interesting families

She focused upon some of the great families who had collected art in their palaces . I couples well with the new book the Last Palace which I read recently.