The Avalon Project at Yale Law School

Nazi Conspriracy and Aggression Volume 3
Document No.014-PS

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Translation of Document 014-PS

Report to the Fuehrer

I report the arrival of the principal shipment of ownerless Jewish "cultural property" [Kulturgut] in the salvage location Neuschwanstein by special train on Saturday the 15th of this month. It was secured by my staff for Special Purposes [Einsatzstab] in Paris. The especial train, arranged for by Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, comprised 25 express baggage cars filled with the most valuable paintings, furniture, Gobelins, works of artistic craftsmanship and ornaments. The shipment consisted chiefly of the most important parts of the collections Rothschild, Seligmann, Bernheim-Jeune, Halphen, Kann, Weil-Picard, Wildenstein, David-Weill, Levy-Benzion.

My Staff for Special Purposes started the confiscatory action in Paris during October 1940 on the basis of your order, my Fuehrer. With the help of the Security Service (SD) and the Secret Field Police [Geheime Feldpolizei] all storage--and hiding-places of art possessions belonging to the fugitive Jewish emigrants were systematically ascertained. These possessions were then collected in the locations provided for by the Louvre in Paris. The art historians of my staff have itemized scientifically the complete art-material and have photographed all works of value. Thus, after completion, I shall be able to submit to you shortly a conclusive catalogue of all confiscated works with exact data about origin plus scientific evaluation and description. At this time the inventory includes more than 4000 individual piece of art, partly of the highest artistic value. Besides this special train the masterpieces selected by the Reichsmarschall--mainly from the Rothschild collection--have been forwarded in two special cars to Munich already some time ago. They have bee deposited there in the air raid shelters of the Fuehrer-building.

According to instruction the chief special train has been unloaded in Fussen. The cases containing pictures, furniture etc. have been stored in the castle Neuschwanstein. My deputies accompanied the special train and took care of the unloading in Neuschwanstein too.

First of all the paintings have to be unpacked to determine any possible damage suffered during the transport. Furthermore, the observation of climatic influences upon the paintings and their future careful maintenance necessitate their unpacking as well as their skillful setting-up. Due to lack of time a part of the shipment has not yet been fully inventoried in Paris. This has to be taken care of by my co-workers on the spot in Neuschwanstein to supplement the inventory in full. I have detached for Neuschwanstein the necessary technical and scientific personnel of my staff for the execution of this work. The required time for the unpacking and arranging in Neuschwanstein as well as the preparing of the exhibition rooms will take approximately- 4 weeks. I shall report the completion of the work to you then, and request you, my Fuehrer, to let me show you the salvaged works of art at the spot. This will give you a survey over the work accomplished by my staff for Special Purposes.

Over and above the chief shipment there are secured in Paris a mass of additional abandoned Jewish art possessions. These are being processed in the same sense and prepared for shipment to Germany. Exact accounts about the extent of this remaining shipment are at the moment not available. However, it is estimated that the work in the Western areas will be finished entirely within two to three months. Then a second transport can be brought to Germany.

Berlin, 20 March 1941


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