Goering as Thief: An Archives Story
The looting of European art was well-planned, systematic and efficient. Hitler chose works for his planned Museum in his hometown, Linz, Austria. His second in command Hermann Goering plundered much more, for his own private collection. But art plundered from Jews was not the only source of his loot.
I found a copy of a letter from an American in the Archives of the United States among materials about art theft. It is a short story in extortion. The iPhone picture below shows the actual document. Below that is my transcription of the letter:
My dear Marshal Goering,
Do you recall this our favourite portrait? It is that of one of Germany’s noblest women, Juilene Von Stelberg, which hangs in our small living-room and has become one of our family-circle. When here, you turned this portrait towards the light admiringly. Noting your interest, someone behind you asked rather [inserted: too] eagerly: “Is it for sale?” Do you remember how you let the portrait swing softly back against the wall, and going to the window you gazed out over the Seine? Then, your impatience passed, you quietly turned back to me and, referring to the possible liberation of my wife. you said simply, in English:”I will see what I can do.”
Later, when my wife returned, I related this incident of your visit. We both agreed that we wanted you to have “Juliana”, always to thank you for what you so modestly did for …
[inserted in writing: 22 Dec. 1941]
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