Cover Osteuropa 3/2015

In Osteuropa 3/2015

Haggling over Restitution
Nazi Loot from Łódź as Shifting Mass

Nawojka Cieślińska-Lobkowicz

Deutsche Fassung


In 1940, the German occupiers in Poland had 1,300 non-European objects brought from the Museum of Ethnography in Łódź to a Leipzig museum. In 1942, parts of the collection were sold to Cologne, Hamburg, and Göttingen. In the view of Nazi ideologues, the focus in Litzmannstadt, as Łódź was then called, was to be on documenting the “Germanic prehistory” of the “eastern space”; there was no longer any room for non-European ethnology. East Germany returned “its” part of the collection to the People’s Republic of Poland. Today, the German authorities consider the objects preserved in Göttingen as a security in the negotiations over the mutual return of cultural goods “displaced due to the war”. Information is withheld from or only reluctantly provided to Polish researchers, access to the objects themselves is refused.

(Osteuropa 3/2015, pp. 173–195)