Bruno Lohse

From jdcrp-wikibase
Revision as of 10:11, 27 July 2021 by WikibaseAdmin (talk | contribs) (summary)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bruno Lohse was a German art historian and dealer who also held an officer’s rank in the SS. He served as Göring’s representative while deputy director of the ERR in Paris between 1941 and 1944. In that capacity, Lohse coordinated the systematic theft of at least 22,000 art objects in France that rightfully belonged to Jewish owners. Lohse’s involvement in the Schloss Collection confiscation reflected Göring’s overall interest in such collections. On 23 August 1942, Lohse received information from Hans Leimer, an SS Untersturmführer, on an impending operation involving “paintings from a Jewish collection” in the unoccupied zone that was worth presumably 30-50 million francs. Leimer, in turn, had obtained that information from Henri Rigeaux, a prominent member of the Bony-Lafont criminal network that provided security for ERR headquarters in Paris. On 12 April 1943, Lohse learned that Jean-François Lefranc had taken the lead on locating and seizing the  Schloss Collection as an “administrateur provisoire for the Schloss Collection” under the aegis of the _Commissariat général aux questions juives,** **_(CGQJ). During the operation to confiscate and transfer the Schloss Collection to Paris, Darquier de Pellepoix, head of the CGQJ, requested assurances from Lohse that the Schloss Collection would be returned to its storage place at the Château de Chambon (Laguenne) after its appraisal and examination by experts in Paris. Lohse met with Erhard Göpel at the Hotel Brighton in Paris to discuss what to do with the Schloss Collection. Göpel devised a six-point plan which he submitted to Martin Bormann via the German Embassy in Paris. The proposal acknowledged Lohse’s role in facilitating the search for and confiscation of the  Schloss Collection. On 16 August 1944, Lohse and other remaining ERR staff were ordered to evacuate Paris before completing the transport of robbed cultural assets back to Germany. After his arrest and imprisonment on 2 May 1945 by U.S. authorities, Lohse was interrogated repeatedly, sharing important information about the structure of the looting operations. He claimed he was unaware of the extent of Hermann Göring´s criminal activities. In 1948, U.S. authorities extradited Lohse to France, where he was imprisoned by French military authorities on charges of his wartime looting activities. At a French military tribunal in Paris in 1950 against six major figures in wartime Nazi looting activities, Lohse was the sole defendant who was acquitted. Although forbidden to work as an art dealer again, Lohse developed a highly profitable international art consultancy practice in Munich from the early 1950s to his death. He willed his personal art collection to various heirs. However, a Camille Pissarro painting discovered in a Swiss bank vault belonging to Lohse was later returned to its original owner. Literature: Jonathan Petropoulos, Göring’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World, Yale University Press 2021. Catherine Hickley, “The Nazi art dealer who supplied Hermann Göring and operated in a shadowy art underworld after the war,” The Art Newspaper, 7 January 2021. [online at:] Günther Haase, Die Kunstsammlung des Reichsmarschalls Hermann Göring. Eine Dokumentation, Quintessenz Verlag 2000. M1782 - OSS Art Looting Investigation Unit Reports, 1945-46, Detailed Interrogation Reports (DIR), Report Nr. 6 “Bruno Lohse” [online at:]