In January, construction workers digging a new subway tunnel in Berlin found a cache of sculptures that had been banned by Adolf Hitler for being "degenerate". It's uncertain who is responsible for saving them, but it's possible to make some educated guesses:
Archeologists have so far determined that the recovered works must have come from 50 Königstrasse, across the street from City Hall. The building belonged to a Jewish woman, Edith Steinitz; several Jewish lawyers are listed as her tenants in 1939, but their names disappear from the record by 1942, when the house became property of the Reich. Among its subsequent occupants, German investigators now believe, the likeliest candidate to have hidden the art was Erhard Oewerdieck, a tax lawyer and escrow agent.
Oewerdieck is not widely known, but he is remembered at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel. In 1939, he and his wife gave money to a Jewish family to escape to Shanghai. He also hid an employee, Martin Lange, in his apartment. In 1941 he helped the historian Eugen Täubler and his wife flee to America, preserving part of Täubler’s library. And he stood by Wolfgang Abendroth too, a leftist and Nazi opponent, by writing him a job recommendation when that risked his own life.
The eleven sculptures are now on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin. Pictured above is "A Likeness of the Actress Anni Mewes" by Edwin Scharff.
Link via Flavorwire | Photo: Angel Flores Jr.