More than 1400 paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Klee and others were seized from Cornelius Gurlitt, the 80-year-old-son of a prominent Nazi during Hitler’s reign, but now he has broken his silence to demand their return.
Police intercepted Cornelius Gurlitt crossing the Swiss border by train in 2010. He had in his possession 9,000 Euros in cash
A routine check led to a police investigation which uncovered a treasure trove of paintings in his possession. The lost art is believed to have been stolen during WWII. Gurlitt disputes that claim maintaining that his father rescued the works of art from war-torn Dresden, in Germany. Saved them from the savage bombing of the Allied forces.
Gurlitt broke his silence in an interview with German publication Der Spiegel. According to a CBC Gurlitt said: Compared to the deaths of his father Hildebrand, his mother or his sister, "parting with my pictures was the most painful of all", Gurlitt told the magazine. "I haven't loved anything more than my pictures in my life...But hopefully it will all be cleared up soon and I will finally get my pictures back."
He angrily went on saying he would never willingly hand the paintings over to any person or authority. When I'm dead, they can do with them what they want.
He claims he is a quiet person who just wants to live with his pictures, although reports say he sells the odd painting as a means of income. He claims no pension but uses money from the sale of works of art to cover his living costs. He pays no taxes.
The hoard is believed to have a value of $1.35 billion, £850 million, but Mr Gurlitt still cannot understand what all the fuss is about. He cannot understand what the authorities want with his treasure trove either.
During WWII Jews in Nazi Germany, desperate for money, sold whatever they could to survive but many valuables were stolen by members of Hitler's forces. Hildebrand Gurlitt, the father of Cornelius and an art dealer for Hitler, could have bought the art works at rock bottom prices or stolen them, but surely both means were theft in the circumstances?
Cornelius lived a reclusive life not bothering with modern technology. His day included unpacking his art collection, gazing at each painting and even talking to some of them.
His life was reclusive and lonely and now he is missing his "friends" or rather the paintings. ""I've really missed the paintings. What kind of state is this that puts my private property on display? They have to come back to me," he said, choking back tears", reports the Telegraph.
Opinion: Was he using the money for day-to-day living or does he have a fortune stashed away in Swiss bank accounts? Who really owns these works of art?
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