Catalogue description Registry Number: M 13/D Vol I. Letter from the British Legation in Berne to the Ministry...

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Details of FO 837/1154/5
Reference: FO 837/1154/5
Registry Number: M 13/D Vol I.

Letter from the British Legation in Berne to the Ministry of Economic Warfare about pictures belonging to Prince Heinrich of Liechtenstein, Chargé d'Affaires of Liechtenstein in Berne, Switzerland, dated April 1945. Encloses the original letter from Prince Heinrich of Liechtenstein to His Majesty's Minister [in French], dated 18 April 1945, requesting assistance in the return from Vienna of a part of the art collection of the Prince, which has been put in a common depot in Vienna together with art collections from the state. Includes a list of the Prince's art collections held in Vienna and Lower Austria, referring to art works by Peter P Rubens, Guido Reni, Jan Boeckhorst, Jan Fyt, Casanova, Cercle de Myten, H Steewyck and Roy at Klosterneuburg. Further refers to the library in the palace of the Prince at the IX Fuerstenstrasse in Vienna, containing 30,000 to 40,000 volumes, part of the archives of the family and part of the collection of ceramique and three tapastries. Chateau Fort du Liechntestein near Moedling holds a library of 800 precious volumes, and Chateaux de Feldsberg et Eisgrub near Lundenburg contains several parts of the library and furniture of great value.

Letter from the British Consulate-General in Zurich to the British Legation in Berne relating to Professor Voss, dated 16 April 1945. States that 'the story that he bought a van Dyck from Dresden appears to be mistaken' and that 'the story was probably due to Professor Voss having written a letter in connexion with a supposed van Dyck in possession of Kurt Meissner' in Zurich. The British Legation interviewed Meissner and report that Meissner owned two paintings by Van Dyck, 'both of which had been in Switzerland for over 15 years and came from the Eremitage'. States that 'Meissner was absolutely certain that Voss would not have touched a picture of unclean origin. He had once mentioned to him that we was certain that Germany would lose the war and that he would then have to answer for every picture in the Dresden Gallery'.

Letter from the Ministry of Economic Warfare to Mr Cooper at the Control Commission for Germany, with regard to two paintings brought into Spain from France, 'Boy with Jug' by Velazquez and 'Portrait of a woman' by Murillo, stating that 'there is a strong suspicion of loot', dated 28 April 1945. Refers to the efforts of Michel Szkolnikow, his associate Nat Maric and Gerard Winkis to sell these two paintings.

Correspondence relating to a claim by Mr Thaddeus Grauer, in Sao Paulo. Mr Grauer, in an interview with the British Consulate-General in Sao Paulo, states that 'the pictures are all that remain of his household effects which were taken to Switzerland where he took refuge from Nazi persecution', dated March-April 1945. In 1941 he entrusted Theodore Fischer with the sale of these effects with the exception of the pictures, which were to have been shipped to Brazil. No reference to specific pictures.

Correspondence between the Ministry of Economic Warfare and the British Legation in Stockholm referring to a painting by Rubens of Saint Rochus, dated April 1945. The letter states that the painting was offered for sale in London by Gottfried von Cramm and another German, Paul Lindpaintner, as late as 1939. Concludes that 'it seems therefore that the question of loot can be discarded, unless since 1939 the picture had been sold to a Belgian, French or Dutch collector'.

Letter from the British Legation in Berne to the Ministry of Economic Warfare regarding Julius Meier-Fischer, owner of Julius Meier Transporte, a forwarding agent based in Baden, and Hubert Menten, a Dutchman, 'hitherto resident in Germany and a convinced Nazi', who had valuable oil paintings stored with Meier, dated 16 April 1945. States that Meier visited the British Legation in relation to the expected arrival of Hubert Menten in Switzerland from Germany. Further states that on April 14th 1942, the picture 'Madonna with Child' by Rembrandt was handed over to Andres Hofer, but that Meier cannot provide any further details on the other Menten pictures, as they 'reached him packed and he does not feel justified in opening the cases'.

Date: 1944 February 01 - 1945 September 30
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department: M13/D Vol I
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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