“Door broken open. Customs Investigation Lindau.”With these brief words Cornelius Gurlitt describes the dramatic events of February 28, 2012, when customs officers invade his Munich apartment and seize his collection of over 1,500 works of arts—a move that finds its way into the media as the “Munich Artworks Discovery” and makes headlines worldwide. The state prosecutor’s allegation:
In the case of the paintings Gurlitt’s father Hildebrand acquired in the Third Reich—among them artworks by Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet and Henri Matisse, as well as by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Emil Nolde, Franz Marc and Max Beckmann, valued at 100 million Euros—it supposedly concerns Nazi looted art for the most part. The truth of the matter, however, looks quite different.
Maurice Philip Remy has looked back upon the Gurlitt case in years of research, viewed the complete estate of Hildebrand Gurlitt and used it as a source. In his book he outlines a generation-spanning portrait of a family with its bright and dark sides and sets an unmistakable counterpoint to the official narrative of the German Federal Ministry of Culture. Not only does the art scandal appear unprecedented, but also the failure of the state and the judiciary in the Gurlitt case.
Maurice Philip Remy, born in 1962 in Munich, is a documentary filmmaker and non-fiction writer. He studied communication sciences and was active as a freelance journalist for the German magazine Stern and the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. For many years he worked closely together with Guido Knopp from the contemporary history department of the German TV network ZDF. A six-part series about the Holocaust, which he completed in 2002 and was broadcast worldwide, ranks among his most important works. Documentary series and books, for instance about the Amber Room, the „Mythos Rommel“ (“The Myth of Rommel”), „Offiziere gegen Hitler“ (“Officers Against Hitler”), as well as the multiple award-winning ARD feature film „Mogadischu,“ also made him well-known. On the basis of extensive research, Remy also upholds uncomfortable hypotheses again and again in his work.
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