Patricia Kennedy Grimsted. U.S. Restitution of Nazi-Looted Cultural Treasures to the USSR, 1945-1959

3 січня 2016
Патриція КЕННЕДІ ГРІМСТЕД  Повернення США  до СРСР у 1945-1959 рр., викрадених нацистами обєктів культурної спадщини

Patricia Kennedy Grimsted,
Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University

Among the many historical "blank spots" in the traditional Soviet presentation of World War II and postwar developments has been the Western restitution of Nazi-looted archives and other cultural treasures to the USSR from U.S. occupied Germany and Austria. The resulting lack of accurate information hitherto available in Russia about wartime pillage and restitution transfers has had disastrous effects in the political arena. It has brought about a virtual new Cold War with Western members of the Council of Europe. It has made vacuous for Russia countless international conventions and resolutions adopted by the United Nations, UNESCO, and other bodies calling for the restitution of plundered cultural treasures to their countries of origin.1

The extent to which information about the postwar Western Allied restitution programs was suppressed, and even denied, in the Soviet Union was apparent in the press and in parliament in connection with passage of the law to nationalize the extensive Soviet "spoils of war." During debates over the law, Russian Duma leaders adamantly assured legislators that Russia should be entitled to keep all of its extensive spoils of war-especially those seized from Germany and other Axis powers-because none of the Soviet cultural treasures looted by the Nazis were returned from Germany. To quote from one of the debates in the Duma in July 1996: "Now we are asked to return . . . what we received from the aggressor. We ourselves, we received nothing that had been taken away." There was often the implication, sometimes even explicit, that, if they were not still in Germany, then the Soviet cultural treasures plundered by the Nazis must have all been taken to America. Duma representative and former Minister of Culture under Gorbachev, Nikolai Gubenko kept repeating that refrain in the press and in radio and TV interviews. Available documentation does not support such statements. Yet, the argument still runs, since looted Russian cultural treasures were not returned from the West, Russia should not be obliged to return those that were seized by Soviet authorities after the war in compensation, or as "restitution in kind" for the Soviet treasures lost and destroyed. As the Iron Curtain fell around the Stalinist regime, and Germany was divided in two, information about the significant postwar cultural restitution by the Western Allies and the retrieval of Soviet cultural treasures and archives that did take place was not made public.

Indeed the documents from the National Archives of the United States that I am presenting for the Moscow conference provide quite a different picture. As a result of my research in Washington, I have brought together a collection of the official transfer receipts with inventories for over half a million cultural treasures plundered by the Nazi invaders from Soviet lands found after the war in Germany and Austria. Documentation is now available for a total of nineteen U.S. restitution transfers to Soviet authorities between September 1945 and August 1959. I present an initial copy of these documents with my introduction, accompanying photographs, and related documents to the Russian State Library for Foreign Literature (VGBIL), with a forward by Assistant Archivist of the United States Michael Kurtz, who heads the National Archives facility in College Park and who is himself a specialist on restitution policies.2

A summary list of the first thirteen restitution transfers from Germany of Soviet cultural treasures plundered by the Nazis was prepared in the fall of 1948 by the Restitution Division of the U.S. Office of Military Government in Germany (OMGUS) in answer to postwar complaints by Soviet authorities about the lack of American restitution and the rejection of Soviet claims. An accompanying U.S. memorandum noted that the number of items returned to the USSR-over half a million-"amounted to a far greater number of items than the number of items officially claimed [by Soviet authorities]."3 I have found the official acts of transfer and inventories for all those thirteen shipments. Subsequent to that list, I have found receipts for three additional restitution shipments from the U.S. zone in Germany through 1952. I have also been able to document a transfer in December 1945 of books and scientific materials from Smolensk that was restituted to Soviet authorities in Salzburg, Austria.

Six of the U.S. restitution shipments to the USSR, constituting large transfers of archeological materials, treasures of the visual arts, and other museum exhibit items, were processed through the U.S. Central Collecting Point in Munich. The first director, Craig Smyth, memorialized operations there in a well-illustrated published account.4 The USSR shipments from Munich involved the contents of the most important depositories in Bavaria that were used by the ERR for art treasures "saved" from Soviet lands. The three most extensive ERR depositories in Bavaria for treasures from the East were the castle of Colmberg, near Lehrberg (Landkreis Ansbach); the castle of Hochstadt (Landkreis Dillingen), near Augsburg; and the former Carthusian (Salesianer) Monastery in Buxheim, near Memmingen. There were also several shipments of importance to the USSR from the Wiesbaden Collecting Point, but fewer works of art from Soviet lands ended up there.5

The major restitution shipments of library materials to the USSR were processed through the Offenbach Archival Depository (OAD), the centralized collection point in the U.S. Zone of Occupation and restitution center for books and archives outside of Frankfurt.6 Characterized as "the American antithesis to the ERR," in what was undoubtedly "the biggest book restitution operation in library history," Offenbach restituted a total of 273,645 books to the USSR between 2 March 1946 and 30 April 1949, on the basis of confirmed library stamps, ex libris, or other markings.7

Ten years later in April 1957, 31 icons were officially restituted to the Embassy of the USSR in Washington, DC, personally transmitted by Ardelia Hall, who headed the American restitution program in the Department of State. The icons involved had first been looted by a Nazi SS officer from a village in Ukraine and then looted from the basement of a hospital in Halle, Germany, by an American Army captain. When he tried to take send his booty to the United States in two separate shipments, they were seized by U.S. Customs in Texas. Restitution of the icons to Soviet authorities was delayed, because of a significant protest (with a petition from parishioners) from a local priest of the Russian Orthodox Church in America, who thought they should not be returned to the atheist Soviet Union. He feared they would never be returned to a church in Ukraine and thought that they might even be destroyed. The State Department nevertheless insisted on restitution. Interesting enough, documentation has surfaced recently in Moscow to the effect that, on 31 May 1957, the Soviet Embassy in Washington turned over the icons to Archbishop Dionisii, the then acting representative of the Moscow Patriarch in the United States. Soviet authorities had determined that the icons were not of great value or historical interest.8 The present location of the icons has not been determined, but presumably they remain in the United States.

Two years later, a collection of 31 prehistoric bone artifacts was identified in the American Museum of Natural History in New York as having markings from an archeological collection in either Kyiv or Minsk. The artifacts had first been removed to Cracow and thence taken to the Castle of Hochstadt in Bavaria. The circumstances of their illegal removal from Germany to the United States is not known, but they were presented by an Army widow from Georgia to the museum, where their provenance was traced, undoubtedly in response to appeals by the Department of State for looted cultural treasures illegally brought to the United States. Formal restitution to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC, took place in August 1959.

Cultural treasures and archives returned in those nineteen transfers between September 1945 and August 1959 ranged from four freight cars of archival materials from Novgorod found in the Prussian Privy State Archive in Berlin to eight freight cars with the Neptune Fountain from Peterhof found in a basement storage vault in Nuremberg. Twenty-five freight-train cars of archival materials and museum collections from Kyiv and Riga, found in a Bohemian castle and nearby monastery, were returned to Soviet authorities near Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, in October 1945. From the Munich Collecting Point U.S. authorities returned twelfth-century mosaics from the Cathedral of St. Michael of the Golden Domes in Kyiv, collections of insects and herbaria from the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, and many icons from many different churches in Pskov, to name only a few of the treasures processed there. Thousands of prehistoric archeological finds from the Crimea, ethnographic exhibits from Kharkiv, Poltava, and Minsk, and treasures of the decorative arts from many museums in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, to name only a few examples, were found in Bavarian castles and monasteries and also processed through the U.S. Collecting Point in Munich. Books and documents transferred from the Offenbach Archival Depository, the central collecting point for library materials in the American zone, totaled over 275,000 volumes, but many more books were returned from other collecting points as well. More research is needed to determine if there were other shipments. The nineteen cultural restitution transfers documented do not include others that were not handled by the Museum, Fine Arts &Archives (MFA&A) section of OMGUS, for which a number of examples have been documented.

The total returns presented on the 1948 list of thirteen shipments was 534,170 items, but if we add the additional six shipments now documented, the total comes closer to 540,000. Indeed, that total figure was significantly understated because, as apparent from the inventories that accompanied the official U.S. custody receipts, an item could denote a single painting or icon, but in other cases, an item comprised 35-50 glass vases, 240 books, or 26 Russian manuscripts. In the case of the Austrian transfer, the figures were for large cases of books rather than volumes. Complete records of the American transfers, including the accompanying inventories, have long been open to the public in the United States and Germany, although the actual documents are hard to find, located as they are in a number of different boxes within the records of OMGUS and (the two later ones) the State Department.

Of importance to note, U.S. restitution transfers continued even after U.S. authorities knew about the extent of Soviet seizures from German museums, libraries, and archives. Indeed, U.S. data about the Soviet cultural plunder in Germany was much more extensive than previously acknowledged, according to reports that surfaced recently in the National Archives. For example, OMGUS authorities in Germany obtained and sent to Washington in 1947 extensive inventories describing the cultural treasures shipped to Moscow by Soviet authorities from Germany, following up on other earlier communications. Among the detailed reports, for example, one detailed "Russian Removals from the Islamic Department of the Former Prussian State Museum." Another report noted: "Flakturm-am-Zoo and the Pergamon were completely emptied of the considerable material they contained in June and July just before the arrival of American and British forces in Berlin." Appended was a note that "the Russians took from the Dresden museums everything except German 19th century paintings and a few second rate other things and plaster casts."9 The data available to American authorities were never made public at the time and have not been published since, although they corroborate data released in Moscow over the past decade and other details published recently in the West."10 U.S. authorities chose to remain silent on that issue, although as a result they did refuse "compensatory restitution" or "restitution in kind" to Belgium and other countries, when it was requested. Yet American knowledge of Soviet seizures of "compensatory" cultural reparations "in kind" from Germany did not stop restitution of Soviet cultural treasures that were identified in Germany and Austria.

At the same time Soviet authorities in Germany11 were constantly complaining about the slowness of the Western Allied restitution process and about the rejection of many of the Soviet claims. Angry letters exchanged between U.S. and Soviet commanders regarding the progress and specific problems of restitution testify to the rapidly intensifying Cold War between East and West in Germany. Lack of cooperation between U.S. and Soviet authorities over restitution issues reflected much larger political issues on the agenda.

The list of thirteen U.S. shipments between September 1945 and September 1948 first appeared in a facsimile edition in Ukraine in 1991, and five years later was also published in Germany.12 Copies of the American "property cards-art" were presented to Ukraine in 1994, and two years later the University of Bremen issued a German-language CD-ROM database version of them.13 Since publicity about the thirteen transfers and the property cards of returned cultural treasures, Russian restitution specialists in the Ministry of Culture have been admitting that extensive restitution of cultural treasures from Germany did take place. However, they still believed that no inventories accompanied the U.S. restitution transfers, because apparently, inventories and copies of the property cards were not forwarded by Soviet authorities from the points they were received in the U.S. Occupation Zone to the Soviet cultural collecting point in Berlin-Derutra and thence to the USSR.

The difficulty of documenting postwar transfers and their appropriate restitution/distribution to the repository of origin in Russia or other former Soviet republics is now at the heart of the problem. Although the incompleteness of postwar records complicates documentation of Soviet retrievals and the fate of materials restituted by the United States, a few recently opened files among the records of the Committee on Cultural-Enlightenment Affairs of the RSFSR (predecessor of the Ministry of Culture) in Moscow contain some important documents about both shipments from Germany and the subsequent distribution of U.S. restituted cultural property. While remaining documentation is fragmentary, transfer documents bearing signatures from various museums in different parts of the USSR, including Ukraine, have been preserved for some of the cultural property returned from the West by U.S. restitution authorities.14 Documents found in those files do not match up with all of the U.S.-Soviet signed transfer receipts, and some of the Soviet documents bear no indication of whence or when the materials were received or found.15

Of particular note, at the beginning of November 1947, eighteen freight-train wagons of cultural treasures restituted from the U.S. Occupation Zone of Germany were dispatched from the Soviet cultural transfer center of Derutra near Berlin. Of these, eight were sent directly to Kyiv and two wagons to Minsk, in addition to four for Novgorod and four wagons plus an additional flatcar for bronze statues (undoubtedly from the Neptune Fountain) that were directed to the suburban Leningrad cultural distribution center in Pushkin. Official representatives from the Russian, Belorussian, and Ukrainian republics verifying the shipments in Derutra attested to the fact they had no inventories or content lists for individual crates, but only lists with container numbers for each wagon. Hence, it would be quite understandable if some items were not distributed to their repositories of origin. Some of the Russian documentation, including a chart attached to one of the official reports of that shipment, bears U.S. property-card numbers, but according to the signed act, the official representatives present apparently did not have copies of the property cards.16

More documentation, including the property cards for museum exhibits is nonetheless available from American sources, even though it may not always be sufficient for identification purposes. Furthermore, the property cards are difficult to use without the inventories of the shipments (which also have property card numbers). American copies of the official transfer papers, all duly signed by Soviet restitution officials, are preserved in the U.S. National Archives. All of them are accompanied by at least summary inventories of the items shipped, many indicating the Soviet repository of provenance. It is inconceivable that copies of those inventories (in German or English) did not accompany the Soviet copies of the receipts, as was clearly indicated in the distribution notes in each case. So far, however, the Soviet copies of the American transfer documents and the accompanying inventories of the cultural restitution transfers have still not been located in Russian archives, even among still classified files.

Presenting these copies today to our Russian colleagues should help counter the criticism that many cultural treasures from Soviet lands found in Germany were not returned to the USSR. It should also counter the impression that many Soviet cultural treasures found by the Americans were taken to the United States, or that inventories were not presented to Soviet authorities with official copies of the signed custody receipts. Yes, there were examples of U.S. wartime or postwar seizures of booty against Army regulations, some of which were not caught. However, the example of the 31 icons seized by U.S. Customs in Texas shows that American authorities were trying to counter the problem of war booty. The example of the 31 prehistoric artifacts found in the American Museum of National History in New York provides another example of the attention American museums were paying to the provenance of postwar acquisitions. And I have found many other examples of war trophies seized in America and returned to their country and institution of origin.

By contrast, we should recognize that U.S. authorities did not restitute several categories of materials at the time. For example, treasures from the Baltic States were not returned, because the United States did not recognize their annexation by the USSR. A number of plundered materials were turned over to emigres from Soviet lands who remained in exile in the West. Some of these transfers are now coming under closer scrutiny, as American authorities in some cases apparently erred in favor of those who were able to arrange their sanctuary abroad. Russian attention recently has focused on the still adequately unexplained fate of the most revered icon of the Tikhvin Madonna, which has recently been identified in Chicago. Removed by the Nazis from a monastery in Tikhvin and then taken from Pskov to Riga, and used during the war for religious (and Nazi propagandistic) purposes, it was reportedly taken to Bavaria under the escort of Russian Orthodox Bishop John of Riga. American restitution authorities finally agreed to permit Bishop John to take it with him to the United States in 1949, under the pretext that the icon he had been preserving in his church in Germany was a reproduction of little value.17

Another highly disputed U.S. postwar cultural transfer involves the fate of the Durer drawings from the former Lubomirski Museum in Lviv, nationalized following the Soviet annexation of Western Ukraine in 1939, but then seized by a personal emissary of Hitler in 1941.18 Following long-secret negotiations after the war, American restitution authorities in the State Department turned the collection over to Prince Georg Lubomirski, who claimed the drawings with supporting documentation that the terms of his family's donation had been abrogated when Soviet authorities abolished the Lubomirski Museum and nationalized the Polish collections in 1939. Although during negotiations with U.S. authorities, Lubomirski promised them to the National Gallery of Art, he later quite legally sold the Durer drawings at auction, resulting in their dispersal to various museums in Great Britain and the United States. Several recent journalistic accounts have tapped many sources and raised conflicting issues.19 A well-documented case study is still needed, especially if and when any legal claims are filed in court

Significant quantities of heirless Judaica and Hebraica from Soviet collections were also not returned to the USSR, because of the annihilation of Jewish communities, and strong Jewish lobbies to the effect that they should be "redistributed." Some of these were turned over to Jewish relief organizations for distribution to surviving Jewish communities and refugees from liberated concentration camps in the West; some went to Israel. A more detailed study of the distribution pattern for Jewish property is needed, and considerable documentation is available on this issue. Some of these problems are now being studied by the U.S. Presidential Commission on Holocaust-Era Assets, and their report is due by the end of 2000.

Many seizures of Soviet books and archival materials by U.S. intelligence agents have not been adequately documented. Among the still contested archival hostages are the famous 500+ files from the Smolensk Communist Party Archive that are still held in the U.S. National Archives. They have already served their ironic destiny as a training ground for American Sovietology, but today, reseachers in the National Archives are normally not permitted to consult the originals.20 Many people in Russia still claim that the entire archive was taken to the United States, but now we know that Soviet authorities found five freight car loads of the major groups of records from that same Smolensk archive in Silesia in 1945, and returned them to Smolensk. Knowledge about that retrieval, however, was repressed in the Soviet Union until the archives were opened in 1991.21

Despite such examples, there is good reason to believe that the cultural treasures not returned to the USSR are the exceptions, not the general rule. There are still discrepancies between American figures about items transferred to the USSR and available Russian statistics about the number of items received. There have been concerns, including those expressed in Ukraine, that many items returned by the United States did not reach their original home or institution of provenance. A recent issue regarding Nazi-looted eleventh-century mosaics and frescoes from the Saint Michael Cathedral of the Golden Domes in Kyiv that have been identified in the Hermitage and in Novgorod has even been raised in a UNESCO committee dealing with displaced cultural treasures.

Some such issues still require further analysis, which now may be assisted by the inventories that I present here today. It is my hope that further investigation of specific problematic examples, collaborative research with Russian specialists, and more open access to documentation remaining in Russia can help overcome the persisting Cold War attitudes surrounding the issue of displaced cultural treasures. Hopefully, too, more discussion in conferences such as this one in Moscow can help us in the new century to rise above the bitterness that still pervades the politics of restitution on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps, there is even a glimmer of hope that more cultural treasures remaining in Russia can be freed from the status of prisoners of the horrendous war that devastated the entire European Continent over half a century ago. With that hope in mind, today I present one copy of this document collection with my detailed introduction and chart of the U.S. transfers to the All-Russian State Library for Foreign Literature in appreciation for this Conference, where I have been assured it will be open for public consultation.

NOTES

The present paper represents a summary of my more extensive study, "Documenting U.S. Cultural Restitution to the USSR, 1945-1949, being published as an introduction to the CD-ROM edition by the U.S. National Archives: U.S. Restitution of Nazi-Looted Cultural Treasures to the USSR, 1945-1959: Facsimile Documents from the National Archives of the United States, compiled with an Introduction by Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, with a Foreword by Michael J. Kurtz (Washington, DC: GPO, 2000). More detailed documentation for this essay will be found in that publication. An initial version was presented to VGBIL at the Moscow conference in April 2000 but has since been considerably expanded. I am particularly grateful to the National Archives for assuming the costs and labor of reproduction of the documents I located with the assistance of archivists. That study draws heavily on chapter 6 in my forthcoming book, Trophies of War and Empire: The Archival Heritage of Ukraine, World War II, and the International Politics of Restitution (Cambridge, MA: Distributed by Harvard University Press for the Ukrainian Research Institute, 2000), but includes many new findings.
1 See my article "'Trophy' Archives and Non-Restitution: Russia's Cultural 'Cold War' with the European Community," Problems of Post-Communism 45:3 (May/June 1998): 3-16. See also my article "Displaced Archives and Restitution Problems on the Eastern Front from World War II and its Aftermath," Contemporary European History 6:1 (1997): 27-74; an earlier shorter version appeared as "Captured Archives and Restitution Problems on the Eastern Front: Beyond the Bard Graduate Center Symposium," in The Spoils of War: World War II and Its Aftermath: The Loss, Reappearance, and Recovery of Cultural Property, ed. Elizabeth Simpson (New York: Henry N. Abrams, 1997), pp. 244-51, 270-71. An earlier version also appeared under the auspices of the International Council on Archives as "Displaced Archives and Restitution Problems on the Eastern Front from World War II and its Aftermath," Janus: Revue Archivistique/ Archival Review, 1996, no. 2, pp. 44-76; with a German variant: "Verschleppte Archive im Bereich der Ostfront: Aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg und seinen Folgen resultierende Ruckgabeprobleme," Quatuor Coronati Jahrbuch, no. 33 (1996): 23-60.
2 The initial version presented for the Conference comprised documentation from eighteen transfers (1945-1947), but since then I have since documented an additional transfer that took place in Washington, DC, in August 1959. The entire collection, along with accompanying photographs, is now included in the National Archives publication described above.
3 The official U.S. Army list and accompanying memorandum were first published as an appendix to Grimsted (with Hennadii Boriak), Dolia skarbiv Ukrains'koi kul'tury pid chas Druhoi svitovoi viiny: Vynyshchennia arkhiviv, bibliotek, muzeiv (Kyiv: Arkheohrafichna komisiia AN URSR, 1991), pp. 117-19. The original list, "Restituted Russian Property," and covering memorandum (20.IX.1948), are from US NA, RG 260 (OMGUS), Records of the Property Division, Reparations and Restitution Branch, MFA&A Section, Records Pertaining to Restitution, Soviet-General, box 723. The list was enclosed with a report (20.IX.1948) from Richard F. Howard, Deputy Chief for Cultural Restitution (MFA&A). Another copy of the list is found in box 38, but that copy lacks the accompanying memoranda and correspondence and does not indicate the Kyiv components.
4 See Craig Smyth, Repatriation of Art from the Munich Collecting Point in Munich after World War II (Maarssen, The Hague: Gary Schwartz SDU Publishers, 1988). In addition to the records of the Munich Collecting Point within the OMGUS Property Division records (AHC), other remaining records are held in Koblenz (BA-K), B 323 (see fn. 26). See also the series, "Photographs of the Restitution of Art and Other Activities at the Munich Central Collecting Point," Still Pictures Division, US NA, 260-MCCP; many of the photos come from an album prepared by Smyth.
5 In addition to the records of the Wiesbaden Collecting Point in the Ardelia Hall Collection in the OMGUS records, see also the photographic series, "Photographs of Activities at the Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point," US NA, Still Pictures Division, 260-WLA, WLB, and WLC, with a fragmentary German-language caption list in 260-WLX.
6 Still the most detailed account of operations at OAD was prepared by one of the U.S. MFA&A officers involved with postwar restitution in Germany, Leslie I. Poste, The Development of U.S. Protection of Libraries and Archives in Europe during World War II (Fort Gordon, GA: U.S. Army Civil Affairs School, 1964; revised from a doctoral dissertation prepared at the University of Chicago, 1958), pp. 258-301, with a chart of out-shipments by country, pp. 299-300. Poste's concluding statement about OAD is repeated on p. 310. See also Poste's earlier article, "Books Go Home from the Wars," Library Journal 73 (1 December 1948): 1699-1704. A brief account appears in an online exhibit about OAD at the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (http://www.ushmm.org/oad/). See also the article by F. J. Hoogewoud, "The Nazi Looting of Books and Its American 'Antithesis': Selected Pictures from the Offenbach Archival Depot's Photographic History and Its Supplement," Studia Rosenthaliana 26:1/2 (1992): 158-92, which reproduces selected photographs from the albums illustrating OAD operations.
7 This figure for shipments to the USSR is cited by Poste, U.S. Protection of Libraries and Archives, pp. 298-300, which corresponds to the figures found in the OAD records I examined in US NA, RG 260, Property Division, AHC, boxes 66, 250-262.
8 The official act of transfer on 31 May 1957 was executed by the Head of the Consulate Division of the Embassy of the USSR in the USA and Archbishop Dionisii, Acting Exarchate of the Moscow Patriarch in the United States. Together with a covering memorandum (15 June 1957), the related documents with photographs were forwarded to Moscow, where they are now preserved in the Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (AVP RF). A copy of the U.S. act of transfer and inventory of the 31 icons was also enclosed. Copies of the documents from AVP RF, fond 192/37(por no. 21)/213, fols. 50-52 ff., are held by the Ministry of Culture RF. I am grateful to Nikolai I. Nikandrov of the Ministry of Culture for acquainting me with documentation relating to this development received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
9 See, for example, the secret report on "Soviet Removals of Cultural Materials" (7.V.1947) addressed to the Adjutant General at the War Department from Lt. Col. G. H. Garde, with 23 enclosures, most of them detailed reports about specific Soviet removals, US NA, RG 260, Adjutant General decimal files, 1947, box 129.
10 Regarding the art works brought back to the USSR in the aftermath of World War II, see Konstantin Akinsha and Grigorii Kozlov (with Sylvia Hochfield), Beautiful Loot: The Soviet Plunder of Europe's Art Treasures (New York: Random House, 1995); revelations about Soviet "trophy" art first appeared in a series of articles by the same authors in ARTnews in 1991. See also the revelations of Pavel Knyshevskii with the texts of still-classified documents in Dobycha: Tainy germanskikh reparatsii (Moscow: Soratnik, 1994), and the review by Mark Deich, "Dobycha-V adres Komiteta po delam iskusstv postupilo iz pobezhdennoi Germanii svyshe 1 milliona 208 tysiach muzeinykh tsennostei," Moskovskie novosti, no. 50 (23-30 October 1994): 18. Regarding the books and archives, see additional references in my articles and book cited in footnotes above.
11 See the letters of Vasilii Sokolovskii to Lucius D. Clay (5.III.1949) and Clay to Sokolovskii (10.III.1949), US NA, RG 260, Records of the Executive Office, Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Lucius Clay, 1945-49, box 19. Vasilii Chuikov to John J. McCloy (8.VIII.1949) and McCloy to Chuikov (23.VIII.1949), US NA, RG 260, Records of the Executive Office, Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Lucius Clay, 1945-49, box 19. The full texts of both these sets of letters are reproduced in my collection of facsimile documents on the U.S. Restitution to the USSR.
12 The U.S. Army list also appears as an illustration in Wolfgang Eichwede and Ulrike Hartung, eds., "Betr: Sicherstellung": NS-Kunstraub in der Sowjetunion (Bremen: Edition Temmen, 1998), p. XXXVI. In that volume see especially the article by Gabriele Freitag, "Die Restitution von NS-Beutegut nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg" (pp. 170-208), which provides an excellent survey of the U.S. restitution.
13 The photocopies of the "Property Cards-Art" made available to Kyiv came from the records of the Collecting Point in Munich, in BA-K, B 323, which I first examined in Koblenz in 1993 together with IUA Deputy Director Hennadii Boriak. The entire file was subsequently copied for presentation at the 1994 UNESCO-sponsored conference in Chernihiv. See H. Boriak, "Bremens'kyi proekt 'Dolia kul'turnykh tsinnostei, vyvezenykh z SRSR v roky Druhoi svitovoi viiny' (FRN): Kameral'ni metodyky i problemy doslidzhennia istorii arkhivnykh dokumentiv," in Materialy natsional'noho seminaru. Chernihiv, 1994, pp. 251-60. See also Wolfgang Eichwede and Ulrike Hartung, eds., "Property Cards Art, Claims und Shipments auf CD-ROM: Amerikanische Ruckfuhrungen sowjetischer Kulturguter an die UdSSR nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg"-Die CD der Arbeitsstelle "Verbleib der im zweiten Weltkrieg aus der Sowjetunion verlagerten Kulturguter" (Bremen: Forschungsstelle Osteuropa, 1996).
14 In 1997, I was permitted to examine some files within the partially declassified series (opis' 2) of the records of the RSFSR Committee on Cultural-Enlightenment Affairs (Komitet po delam kul'turno-prosvetilel'skich uchrezhdenii) (predecessor of the Ministry of Culture), GA RF, A-534/2, which are still not openly available to all researchers. For example, among U.S. shipments to the USSR in one list from June 1946 were 26 crates from the UkrSSR, including materials from an herbarium, an entomological collection, and negatives and books from the Institutes of Biology and Zoology-T. Zuev to A. A. Zhdanov (6.VI.1946), GA RF, A-534/2/10, fol. 218. Another file (GA RF, A-534/2/13), includes receipts for 40 crates for the Kerch Museum (fol. 3), 268 crates for the Historical Museum in Kyiv (fols. 9-15), and others being transferred to Feodosii in the Crimea in 1948 (Crimea was part of the RSFSR until 1954).
15 The Bremen group also surveyed this problem with limited success. As apparent from the use slips in individual files (GA RF, A-534/2), the German researchers themselves had not seen these files, but copies had been obtained for them. By and large the Bremen team received copies of documents from the same files that I examined, but it is not clear that all of those files were open to them. See Ulrike Hartung, "Der Weg zuruck: Russische Akten bestatigen die Ruckfuhrung eigener Kulturguter aus Deutschland nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Probleme ihrer Erfassung," "Betr: Sicherstellung," pp. 170-208.
16 See the signed official reports regarding this shipment (and accompanying chart with notation of corresponding U.S. property card numbers) (6.XI.1947). One of the reports specifies 1,127 crates of museum items from Kyiv among 2,391 {crates received for Ukraine from the American Zone, GA RF, A-534/2/14, fols. 6-19, 27-28, 34, 39-40, and 52. Additional verification is still needed of the available Soviet lists in comparison with the property-card numbers indicated on the inventories of different U.S. transfers.
17 There is considerable correspondence regarding the Tikhvin icon in U.S. restitution records, a selection of which is quoted in my longer study. As explained there, this was one matter about which the Soviet side had good reason for complaint.
18 See the catalogue of the collection by Mieczyslaw Gebarowicz and Hans Tietze, Albrecht Durers zeichnungen im Lubomirskimuseum in Lemberg (Vienna: A. Schroll, 1929), presented in a folio edition with reproductions of all 24 drawings. H. S. Reitlinger, "An Unknown Collection of Durer Drawings," Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs (London), March 1927, pp. 153-55, includes plates reproducing nine of the drawings and brief descriptions of the rest.
19 The most detailed and balanced coverage to date is that of Michael Dobbs, "Stolen Beauty," Washington Post Magazine, 21 March 1999, pp. 12-18, 29; Dobbs concludes, in line with the opinion of the director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, that the recent Ukrainian claim probably would not stand up in court. Another well-researched account by Martin Bailey, "Hitler, the Prince and the Durers," in the Art Newspaper (London) 6:47 (April 1995): 1-2, suggests the drawings rightfully belong to Lviv, and that American restitution authorities probably had no right to return them to Prince Georg Lubomirski. That is also the opinion in a recent article in the Lviv newspaper, Vysokii zamok, 1999, no. 1, p. 1. See also Bailey's follow-up article on the 1998 claim by the Stefanyk Library in Lviv, "Growing unease over Lubomirski Durers," The Art Newspaper 93 (June 1999): 3. An earlier account of the matter by Andrew Decker in "A Worldwide Treasure Hunt," ARTnews, Summer 1991, pp. 136-38, raises many of the problems but lacked some of the sources uncovered by Bailey and Dobbs.
20 See my separate monograph, The Odyssey of the "Smolensk Archive": Plundered Communist Records for the Service of Anti-Communism (Pittsburgh: REES, 1995; =Carl Beck Papers in Russian & East European Studies, no. 1201).
21 Regarding the Soviet retrieval in 1945, see V. N. Shepelev, "Sudba 'Smolenskogo arkhiva,'" Izvestiia TsK KPSS, 1991, no. 5, pp. 135-38. Shepelev includes reports of the Red Army political unit that found the Smolensk records, along with library collections from Pskov, Belarus, and the Baltic republics, abandoned by the Nazis in a railroad station in Silesia. The original documents come from RGASPI (earlier RTsKhIDNI), 17/125/308, fols. 11-12. The Soviet retrieval and return to Smolensk is further documented in Grimsted, Odyssey of the Smolensk Archive, pp. 44-48. See also V. N. Shepelev, "Novye fakty o sud'be dokumentov 'Smolenskogo arkhiva' (po materialam RTsKhIDNI)," Problemy zarubezhnoi arkhivnoi rossiki: Sbornik statei (Moscow: "Russkii mir," 1997), pp. 124-33.
http://www.libfl.ru