Cover Osteuropa 1-2/2006

In Osteuropa 1-2/2006

The Koenigs Collection
Fear and Hope in a Dutch-Russian Case of Restitution

Nout van Woudenberg

Deutsche Fassung


For a long time, a particular case of restitution has stood near the top of the political agenda of Dutch-Russian relations: the Koenigs Collection. Over 500 of the more than 2,500 drawings by Old Masters bought by the banker Franz Koenigs in the 1920s were procured by Hans Posse, Hitler’s plenipotentiary for the Führer Museum, in an illegal transfer in 1940. The Red Army took this part of the collection almost fully in tact from Dresden to the Soviet Union. While East Germany in 1987 restituted the 33 drawings that remained on its territory to the Netherlands and Ukraine returned the works that had made their way to Kiev, Russia has delayed restitution. The Netherlands may have international law on its side, but Russia insists on deciding the case according to its own restitution legislation.

(Osteuropa 1-2/2006, pp. 179–192)