A Czech amateur art detective says he has traced a further eight painting from German dictator Adolf Hitler’s private collection to a local castle.
Jiří Kuchař says the eight paintings are in storage at the state-owned castle of Zákupy in north Bohemia, adding that a further painting from the collection is in the possession of the Czech army and another owned by Charles University’s law faculty in Prague, commercial broadcaster TV Nova reported.
Kuchař’s amateur investigations made headlines in late February when he announced that he had tracked down seven paintings from Hitler’s collection being stored at a depositary in a convent at Doksany in the same region. He has put the value of the paintings rediscovered so far at around Kč 140 million ($7 million).
Hitler’s extensive private art collection is believed to have been moved from Munich to the Czech Republic in 1943 to protect it from the increasing day and night air raids by allied bombers. The Nazi-occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was relatively untouched by bombing because it was regarded as an ally during the war — although the Nazis took advantage of the fact by increasingly moving strategic war production to the territory as the US and British bombing campaign intensified.
US authorities are believed to have taken the most notable paintings at the end of the war, but the less valuable works were left behind and scattered.
Kuchař originally said around 28 works from the Fuhrer’s collection could have remained in the Czech Republic, leaving around 11 more to be found. The amateur sleuth said that to track down the items he had followed up leads in a Swiss book that detailed Hitler’s art purchases during the war.
Hitler — a failed painter who did not succeed in getting entry to a prestigious Vienna academy and at one stage tried to make ends meet by painting souvenir paintings of local tourist spots in the Austrian capital — amassed a large art collection before and during the war. He dreamt of eventually installing the collection in his favorite city Linz, Austria, which he planned to turn into the German Reich’s cultural capital.