Rare books returned to Germany in Embassy ceremony
TWIG - The relatives of a U.S. soldier handed over four antique books, including a volume of Aesop’s fables, which the soldier had brought to the United States after his World War II service in Germany.
When John D. was fighting with his unit for the liberation of Germany from the Nazi regime, he found parts of the precious Stuttgarter Kupferstich collection, which were hidden at the Waldenburg castle. The soldier brought some of the books home to the United States.
In a unique move, his relatives, Clarence and Peter Brown, handed over four antique German books to Deputy Chief of Mission Peter Gottwald on May 26 at the German Embassy. Their titles are "Das Theater " by Karl Walser, "Die Fabeln des Aesop", "Muenchhausen" and "Der Ulmer Aesop."
The decision by the soldier’s relatives to hand the books over to their legal owner, the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, was welcomed by Mr. Gottwald as an important contribution to the German Government’s policy of recovering art property losses. "We highly appreciate this gesture," Gottwald said at the ceremony. "Getting lost cultural art home is very important for us, but it’s a two-way street. There are also things that go from Germany back to the United States."
Clarence and Peter Brown found the books in their uncle’s house after his death. "If we’d known where these books were from, we would have contacted the gallery immediately," Peter Brown said during the ceremony.
The relatives’ cooperation was also highly appreciated by the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the state-owned Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. "We are so happy to have the books back," the director of the Staatsgalerie Graphische Sammlung, Dr. Ulrike Gauss, said. "It’s an important step in our work. We’re bringing together what belongs together."
Mr. Joachim Uhlmann, a senior official of the Baden-Wuerttemberg State Ministry of Science, Research and Art, said that he was very glad about the cooperation, but also noted that about 80,000 items of the Staatsgalerie’s collection are still missing.
Deputy Chief of Mission Gottwald hosted the handover ceremony to honor this gesture of American-German friendship. It was followed by a lunch hosted by the Embassy’s cultural department.
The Embassy would like to encourage everyone who is in
possession of lost German cultural property to follow the Brown’s example
and hand it over to the nearest Consulate or the Embassy.
Graphische Sammlung der Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst
Museum Security Network
Lost Art Internet Database
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