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Looted Bremen drawings on show at the Hermitage in June

About 150 items from the collection will be displayed at the exhibition

The Hermitage has confirmed that June is the date for showing the drawings and watercolours removed from the Kunsthalle in Bremen in 1945. This is only the second time in post-war history that war booty art treasures have been put on view. About 150 items from the Bremen Collection will be displayed at the exhibition.

Employees at Moscow’s Schchusev Architectural History Museum have scotched rumours that twenty pages from the collection have been sold to Germany. They say that the sheets in questions were never stored at the museum. Every one of the 364 items which found their way to the museum after the war is still there, intact. A committee of experts has been set up by the Russian Ministry of Culture to look into the problem of such articles within its borders. They may consider that the exhibition of works from war booty collections should become an established practice. It has even been suggested that the fate of trophy items should be decided openly by a referendum. In the meanwhile, restorer Saveli Yamshchikov thinks that some of this war booty is already seeping out of the country. More and more museums, archives and libraries are becoming independent and taking charge of their own stocks, which includes any booty they may contain. In Yamshchikov’s view the Hamburg sheet music library, which has lain for forty-five years in one of St Petersburg’s special storage areas, could be used for barter. The June exhibition may be so successful that the Hermitage would consider showing some of its own trophy collection alongside the one from Bremen.