Maria Almas-Dietrich

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Maria Almas-Dietrich was born in Munich. She married a Turkish man of Jewish descent, in 1921. After the end of World War I, Almas-Dietrich operated an art gallery in Munich’s Westend. Over the years, she developed a close relationship with Adolf Hitler, to whom she allegedly sold one of his favorite paintings, Portrait of Nanna by Anselm Feuerbach, in 1936. Although considered stateless after her divorce from her Turkish-Jewish husband, she acquired German citizenship on 15 January 1940. After the Schloss Collection was confiscated and removed from the Château de Chambon, Bruno Lohse was visiting Munich on 25 April 1943 on his way back to Paris. Maria Almas-Dietrich seized the opportunity and arranged for him to meet with Hermann Voss so that they could discuss the Schloss Collection. Voss told Lohse that Hitler had authorized him to acquire any Schloss painting rejected by the French. On 16 November 1943, after Dr. Erhard Göpel had indexed the collection in Paris, Almas-Dietrich offered to deliver the index in person to Martin Bormann’s office. On 24 January 1944, on advice from Bruno Lohse, Victor Mandl, a Paris-based art dealer, sold Schloss 261 (Chevalier et dame lisant une lettre, Willem Cornelisz Duyster) to Almas-Dietrich. She in turn sold it in February 1944 to Ernst Buchner, director of the Alte Pinakotek in Munich. After the war, Almas-Dietrich continued working at her art gallery. She died in the town of Dachau on 11 November 1971.

Literature: Birgit Schwarz, Auf Befehl des Führers. Hitler und der NS-Kunstraub, Theiss 2014, p. 28ff. Jonathan Petropoulos, Goering’s Man in Paris. The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World, Yale University Press 2021, p. 68ff. Edgar Breitenbach, “_Historical Survey of the Activities of the Intelligence Department, MFA & a Section, OMGB, 1946-1949,” _College Art Journal, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Winter, 1949-1950), pp. 192-198.