Art Restitution Advisory Board Recommends Restitutions from the Museum of Natural History., October 18, 2019

German original:

The fossils and books were acquired from persecuted Jews during the NS-era.

In today’s meeting, the Art Restitution Advisory Board recommended the restitution of four fossils and two books in the Museum of Natural History in Vienna. The objects were acquired by the museum between 1938 and 1942. Restitution was recommended because the objects are associated with the escape from and persecution of the original owners by the NS regime.

The four fossils were originally owned by the Viennese road project engineer Fritz Illner. Irma Bondy sold the items of her brother-in-law after his escape to France to the museum in 1938. Persecuted by the NS regime as Jews, Fritz Illner, his wife Anna, and Irma Bondy were deported to Auschwitz, where they were murdered. The fossils are now to be returned to Fritz Illner’s heirs.

In 1940 and 1942, the museum purchased two books from antiquarian dealer Alfred Wolf, who had previously bought them from Heinrich Klang, a judge and university professor. In 1942, Heinrich Klang was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto, where he became the guardianship judge and head of the „Ghetto Court.“ He survived and returned to Vienna in 1945, where he worked, among other things, as chairman of the Commission for Restitution. The books are now to be returned to Klang’s heirs. (APA, 18.10.2019)