16th century Flemish tapestry that once hung in Adolf Hitler’s famed Eagle’s Nest, in Berchtesgaden, Germany.
AT A GLANCE...
16th-century Flemish tapestry depicting a courtly hunting scene.
Circumstances of Loss:
It was removed from Hitler's "Eagle's Nest" by a soldier of the 101st Airborne.
It was returned to the Bavarian State Museum in Germany during a ceremony on December 16, 2016.
Discovery and Research
Lt. Col. Paul Danahy of the 101st Airborne removed the tapestry and sent it home as a souvenir. It hung in the stairwell of his home for years. His daughter, Cathy Hinz, inherited the object upon his death. She later decided to donate the tapestry to our country’s National World War II Museum, where I first saw it. Aware that it was cultural property, the Monuments Men Foundation, in conjunction with the Museum, researched the history of the tapestry and cleared the roadblocks for its return to the Bavarian State Museum, the beneficiary of property once owned by Hitler, Göring, and the Nazi Party.
The key was determining whether the September 1938 sale of the tapestry would have been considered forced. It was the family of Konrad Bernheimer, a present-day Munich art dealer, who owned the gallery that sold the tapestry. The starting point was look for how much the tapestry was sold for. About $10,000 U.S. dollars at the time was paid and Bernheimer considered that a fair amount, thus not considering it a force sale.
With Bernheimer not laying claim to it, the tapestry belonged to the Bavarian State, the heir to items once belonging to Hitler. Bavarian National Museum official Alfred Grimm said the tapestry would be restored, studied and then displayed at the museum.
On December 16, 2016 in Munich, the Monuments Men Foundation, in conjunction with the National World War II Museum, returned the Flemish tapestry to the Bavarian State Museum.
The return was possible thanks to the collaboration with Dr. Nick Mueller and the leadership of the National World War II Museum, who set the example for other museums in the United States by its swift action in working with the Monuments Men Foundation to promptly return this object. Our thanks extend to Ms. Toni Kiser, Assistant Director for Museum Collections, art dealer Konnie Bernheimer and his family, who despite suffering greatly at the hands of the Nazis, wanted to assist the Foundation in seeing this tapestry returned to Bavaria, our attorney, Tom Kline, and Dr. Alfred Grimm and his colleagues at the Bavarian State Museum.
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