German Military Art Protection in Italy (1943–1945). Munich: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Central Institute of the History of Art) in Munich, 06.05.2010-08.05.2010.
Reviewed by Franziska Scheuer
Published on H-Soz-u-Kult (January, 2011)
German Military Art Protection in Italy (1943–1945)
Supported by the German Government’s appointee for culture and media, a three-day international conference on German Military Art Protection was held at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Central Institute of the History of Art) in Munich I would like to thank Ruben Bieker, Marburg, for his inestimably useful help with the translation of this text. The original German version was published in the latest issue of the journal Rundbrief Fotografie (Vol. 17, 2010, No. 4, p 39-44). . Papers were presented on art protection by German, American, and British occupants in Italy covering the period from the first landing of Allied Forces on Sicily until the end of the Second World War Ernst Kubin, Raub oder Schutz? Der deutsche militärische Kunstschutz in Italien, Graz and Stuttgart 1994. After American and British Forces had landed in Sicily on June 10, 1943, fights between the Allied Forces and the former Axis Powers Germany and Italy took place in that area. The Allied Forces’ military victory over the Italian army led to the disposition of Mussolini. By virtue of the Cassible ceasefire between the Italian Empire and the Allies (September 1943), Italy was excluded from the pact with Germany. Subsequently, Benito Mussolini – by order of King Vittorio Emanuele III. – was placed under arrest. . The group of presenting and commenting scholars consisted of art historians and historians, as well as representatives of museums and image archives from Germany, France, Great Britain, and the United States. After the summer 1943, when the Italian head-of-state, Benito Mussolini, had been deposed and the German-Italian treaty broken, German troops had invaded Italy and freed Mussolini from the Campo Imperatore in Abruzzo in September of the same year. After Benito Mussolini had been liberated by German paratroopers accompanied by a number of SS troops under the command of SS Hauptsturmführer Otto Skorzeny, the Italian “Social Republic” was founded. It encompassed the Northern Italian areas which were at the time occupied by the Wehrmacht. Hitler appointed Mussolini as head of the government; the RSI was under German control. Aside from assigning a General Governor of the German Empire, the occupants formed the so-called Repubblica Sociale Italiana (RSI). In accordance with the Hague Conventions, a department of art, archive, and library protection was established in occupied areas and remained in use until the end of the Second World War. The Hague conventions were the result of the peace conferences held in 1899 and 1907 and formulated the obligation of occupants to protect cultural and art objects in invaded enemy areas. It became effective for the German Empire in 1910. In the First World War, the German supreme command, for the first time, employed art historians for “art protection” purposes in areas of military conflicts and occupied areas. Among the measures taken were e.g. construction of protective structures, identification as well as documentation, and in case they were already destroyed, capturing of monuments as photographs and video material. The department’s offices were located in Rome, Florence, later in Milan, and eventually in Fasano del Garda. Milan’s importance grew primarily after the beginning of the year 1944, when the RSI seat of government had been moved there from Salo on Lake Garda. Among the staff and voluntary contributors to German Art Protection in Italy were the German art historians Leo Bruhns, Hans Gerhard Evers, Werner Haftmann, Ludwig Heinrich Heydenreich – who later founded the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (ZI) –, Otto Lehmann-Brockhaus, Leopold Reidemeister, and Herbert Siebenhüner. Their chief occupation during the first months of their work was establishing and documenting protection measures. In 1944, the beginning of Allied air raids and direct military conflicts between Allied Forces and the Axis Powers triggered a cultural propaganda which – from both the German and the Italian side – strived to accuse the Allied Forces and had a decisive influence on art protection photography.
Focusing on German Military Art Protection during the Second World War, the conference intensified studies on a research field which had already been at the centre of the international workshop “Visual Documentations of Art Protection during the Second World War - European Picture Libraries in Dialogue” held at the German Documentation Centre for the History of Art – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg in early 2010. Programme: <http://www.fotomarburg.de/aktuelles/events/kunstschutz2> (13.06.2010). It was Professor WOLF TEGETHOFF, head of the institute, who in his keynote speech supplied the reason for separate research on the Italian field of action. Given art protection’s ambivalent position between scholarly and propagandist interests, he argued, the ZI plays a model role. Aside from the fact that numerous former staff members were involved in art protection In 1946, the former members of art protection Erika Hanfstaengl and Otto Lehmann Brockhaus were among the first employees of the ZI. Founding director had been Ludwig Heinrich Heydenreich, who after 1943 was the head of the Florence Art Institute and active for art protection as a voluntary member. , he pointed out the Photo Archive of Destroyed Artworks recently rediscovered among the stock of the Munich photograph collection. It primarily shows the damage done to Italian edifices and artworks caused by Allied air raids after 1944. In addition to reprocessing the history of the institute, the conference was meant to continue the tradition of scholarly activity devoted to the study of the history of art during the Nazi period. Tegethoff was referring to the travelling art exhibition “Kunstgeschichte im Nationalsozialismus. Beiträge zur Geschichte einer Wissenschaft zwischen 1930 und 1950”, Nikola Doll/ Christian Fuhrmeister/ Michael Sprenger (Eds.), Kunstgeschichte im Nationalsozialismus. Beiträge zur Geschichte einer Wissenschaft zwischen 1930 und 1950, Weimar 2005. Finally, it was intended to help cultivate the international exchange of institutions whose textual and visual sources are to date still widely scattered and little researched. In their greetings, ADRIANO CHIODI CIANFARANI (Consolato Generale d’Italia a Monaco di Baviera), BERND NEUMANN (German Government’s Appointee for Culture and Media) and Ministerialdirigent TONI SCHMID (Bavarian Ministry of State for Science, Research and Art) emphasized the openness in the ZI’s dealing to its own history as a positive factor in the former enemy nations’ process of growing together. Neumann added that German Art Protection activities, after 1944, did indeed undergo a change from “passive” actions following the Hague Convention to cultural propaganda. He observed that the transportation of movable pieces of art to exterior locations also blurred the boundaries between art protection and art theft. He argued that this tacit and thus dangerous transition from the history of art to propagandist interests needed thorough analysis. The insights thus gained could be used towards assuring proper organization and quality of art protection in current conflict areas and/or war zones.
Pursuing the goal to stimulate international exchange, papers held on the first day were dedicated to the organization of art protection campaigns and included reports as well as mostly unknown records created by private individuals. The first presenter, RUGGERO RANIERI (Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello Foundation, Perugia), presented an overview of art protection activities by Allied Forces in Italy between 1943 and 1945, providing important examples for comparisons between Allied and German art protection. While in 1943, the Roberts Commission Out of the Harvard Group, founded 1940 after Paris had been conquered by the Nazi, developed in 1943 the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas. Counting among its member both American and international scholars and financed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, it also supported the Allies’ protection campaign, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFA&A) from 1943 to 1946, creating inventory of such pieces as had been removed by the German Empire. In Italy, the campaign engaged in designing maps—as true to detail as possible—of the locations of significant pieces of art; this process lasted until 1945. , an American foundation, had already created lists and maps of art monuments and cooperated with the civil authorities, the British Committee for the Preservation and Restitution of Works of Art, Archives, and Other Material in Enemy Hands only began its work towards the end of that year. It was only in 1944, Ranieri explained, that the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Program (MFA&A) helped tighten the organization of the Allied Forces’ art protection and improved the cooperation with Italian local authorities. Robert M. Edsel/ Bret Witter, Monuments Men. Allied heroes, nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history, London 2009. The Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (est. 1943) took orders from the Allies’ “Civil Affairs” and “Military Government” departments and was sub-divided into “Fine Arts Men”, “Monuments Men”, and “Education”. Among its goals were the protection and restitution of cultural goods in warzones by military force during and after the Second World War. Many of the approximately 400 members and employed civilians of the MFA&A had pursued careers in renowned American or European art and cultural institutions. The determining factor for a “tightening” and a more efficient organisation of the outfits was the damage on cultural monuments inflicted during the siege of Naples in 1944 as a result of the Allied troops’ carelessness. About the ‘relations’ between German and Allied military art protection, he added in his conclusion that Allied art protectors must have been informed about German art protection activities since 1943. He made primary reference to the German archivist Ernst Posner, who had worked for the Secret State Archive in Prussia during the 1920s. Removed from his position in 1935 and deported to a concentration camp in 1938, he was able to flee to the United States in 1939. In Washington, he made important contributions to the creation of the National Archive and wrote evaluations of the German military art protection, primarily with respect to the preservation of Italian archives.
After this excursus, CRHISTIAN FUHRMEISTER, who contributed decisively to the conception of the conference, refocused on German military art protection in Italy between 1943–1945, providing the current state of research, central questions, as well as research objectives. He explained that art protection measures consisted more in reactions than in concrete action, as the frequent personnel restructurings show. It was only Evers, Heydenreich, and Siebenhüner, who were active for the art protection project from 1943 up until the end of the war. This dynamic, he argued, was a consequence of the constant urge for military action which had existed in Italy since the occupation by Allied and German troops began in 1943. He concluded that the first major objective of research into German military art protection in Italy is to collect and assemble the widely scattered documents. Furthermore, analyzing private notes and reconstructing the lives of the members of the art protection project as completely as possible are essential to a nuanced evaluation of the measures taken. This is because they could contain information about the frictions between the regime and the executing individuals.
In her presentation “Trust and Suspicion – The Subtle Relations Between the Repubblica Sociale Italiana and the Art Protection Project,” ELENA FRANCHI (Laboratore di Arti Visive – Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa) examined the relationship between the German art protection and the Italian authorities from the perspective of art and cultural institutions of the RSI, which was dependent on the German regime. Both Carlo Anti, the General Arts Director in the Ministry of Education and Carlo Alberti Biggini, the Minister of Education, mention the transportation of artworks from Florence to the Alpine Foothills initiated by German art protection, and express strong suspicion towards the occupants. Franchi emphasised Anti’s diary as a private and thus reliable source. Taking into account the mostly benevolent communication between them and the German art protection, Franchi was able to identify the discrepancy between official and private documents.
CARLO GENTILE (Universität Köln) provided a synopsis of the contributions of the first section of the conference, and raised further research questions. With respect to Ranieri’s contribution, he pointed out that a more profound comparison of the structures and the problems of German and Allied art protection would be desirable. To Fuhrmeister’s strategies of researching German military art protection during the Second World War, he added an in-depth survey of individual campaigns on a local scale as an additional objective. The reason he provided was that there are indicators which suggest that the many occupied places differed somewhat in their loyalty to the German occupants. Furthermore, he believes a glance at the organization of art theft would be worthwhile – especially given the ideas expressed in Franchi’s presentation.
The evening presentation on Italian art properties and the activities of German government offices in the occupied area of Italy 1943–1945 held by LUTZ KLINKHAMMER (Deutsches Historisches Institut, Rome) concluded the first day of the conference. Distinguishing between art protection and art theft, he approached the research objective formulated by Neumann and Gentile. Moreover, he placed the measures of German military art protection in another institutional framework. Even before the autumn of 1943, both art theft and art protection of Italian possessions had occurred. On a scholarly level, Klinkhammer mentioned young graduates of German universities who stayed in Italy for research purposes. With regard to early instances of art theft, he referred to Göring’s plans to complete his private collection and the Führer order of 1939, whereby pieces in Italy where selected for a museum in Linz, which was to be established later. The idea originated in 1943 to create a collective repository for Italian art, it can be assumed, was also not solely intended for purposes of art protection. He also pointed out that future analyses of the documents concerning German authorities’ treatment of Italian possessions need a clearer distinction between political dictates and individual participation.
The subsequent opening of the exhibition titled “Documentation and Propaganda in the Photo Archive of German Military Art Protection in Italy 1943–1954” in the institute’s northern ‘Lichthof’ already introduced the discussion of the image material concerning art protection. Following the Foreign Affairs Office’s request, Ludwig Heinrich Heydenreich managed a project to compile 1,500 black-and-white photographs taken by German professionals showing the damage on Italian art monuments inflicted as a result of Allied air raids. Aside from photographs taken by the German military art protection, Heydenreich, from this point onwards, collected photographs by professional Italian photographers such as Claudio Emmer and Antonio Paoletti and also analyzed the photographs produced by the Luftflottenkampagne II (Air Force Campaign II). Part of the department “Topography Italy” since the 1950, Ralf Peters (ZI) had found a collection of unassembled photographs which was later identified as a component of the art protection “photo archive”. The exhibition examined the image material primarily with respect to aesthetic indicators for the political, artistic, or scholarly motivation of the photographs. The back sides of the photographs showed both “neutral” labelling by art historians and propaganda slogans written by members of the propaganda divisions (PKs). The exhibited brochures of cultural propaganda, in which the photographs were published As examples for the publications mentioned serve La guerra contro l’arte, Milan: Casa editrice Domus 1944; as well as Barbarie Anglo-Americana. Distruzione del patrimonio Storico-Artistico Italiano, Venice: Casa editrice delle edizioni populari 1944. , in contrast, showed that the photographs were turned into instruments subserving the consolidation of the concept of the enemy through suggestive contrasting.
The second section was devoted, on the one hand, to the presentation of image material which had been created or collected by German military art protection in Italy 1943–1945. On the other hand, art historical studies and comparisons of the possessions of the present image archives were intended to analyze the informative value of photographs with respect to the scholarly and propagandist disposition of the measures of art protection.
In his presentation “Ways to Art Protection? The Visual Language of German Ruin Photography” KAI KAPPEL (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz) raised the question what impact the impression of the devastating air raids in Italy after 1944 had on the motivation of those photographers who worked for or sold their photographs to military art protection. In this context, Kappel once again pointed out the importance of the “Image Archive of German Military Art Protection” located within the ZI. In this compilation, especially the photographs taken by professional photographers show clear stylistic reminiscences of the photography of New Objectivity as well as a stronger propagandist interest in the motif of the ruin. Kappel argued that they obtained their heavy political bias only through the suggestive positioning in propaganda pamphlets such as “La guerra contro L’arte” or “Distruzioni del patrimonio storico-artistico Italiano” (both 1944), pointing out that in the mean time, the influence of German military art protection on these writings is historically verified. Both publications were edited by the Milan Casa Editrice, which published e.g. also Mussolini’s speeches or articles and volumes on ethno-racial topics. La Guerra contro L’arte, as the exhibition in the northern court of the ZI as well as Kai Kappel’s contribution reveal, was indeed written by Heydenreich himself. For example, the antithetical image pairs showing each time a previous and the current state of the destroyed buildings could be identified by the speaker as products of the photo campaigns which were launched in connection with the German Confederation homeland security to document the destruction in East Prussia in 1915/14. As examples, the speaker mentioned the newspaper Die Denkmalpflege (monument preservation) founded in 1899 and Paul Schultze Naumburg’s publication Die Kulturarbeiten (cultural work) (1901–1917), which were modelled on Pugin’s Contrasts (1836).
The “Image Archive of German Military Art Protection in Italy” was also at the centre of RALF PETERS’ (ZI) presentation, which once again focused on the “Chase after the Photograph” by Heydenreich, as well as on the aesthetics of the photographs. He held that Heydenreich, being in charge of the Kunsthistorisches Institut (KHI) in Florence, initiated the compilation of photographs as early as 1943, and following instructions given by the Florence institute, continued the process for the Foreign Affairs Office in Milan in July 1944. In September 1943, Heydenreich succeeded Friedrich Kierbaum as director of the KHI and after he had moved to Milan, began performing propagandist tasks, such as analysing press releases and editing articles to appear in La Guerra contro L’arte. Given the “competition” for the photographs between him and the propaganda divisions in Bolzano as well as the RSI Education Department, the collection may well be categorized as politically inspired. However, Heydenreich’s ambivalent position between scholarship and cultural propaganda and the use of the archive for monument preservation purposes after 1945, even today, complicate aesthetic positioning of the individual photographs in a scholarly or cultural propagandist context of origin. Peters emphasised the photographs by Sonderführer (i.e. a military officer with special civilian expertise) Hans-Werner-Schmidt as valuable from a monument preservation perspective, as Schmidt’s photographs of the ruins are complete and systematically taken. The connecting features, Peters stated, are the consistent exclusion of the urban context as well as a “purification” with respect to the human casualties of the war.
Already in January 2010, at the German Documentation Centre for the History of Art – Image Archive Photo Marburg, REGINE SCHALLERT (Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome – Max-Planck-Institute) had presented the approximately 1,300 black-and-white negatives taken by Hans Werner Schmidt, an art historian and so-called “Sonderführer” (factually an interpreter) active for German art protection in Italy from July 1944 to January 1945, as testimonies of systematic and art historical measures for the documentation of Italian art Today, the photographs are kept as parts of collections in the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, the KHI in Florence, and the ZI in Munich. For the Marburg presentation see: Franziska Scheuer, „Kunstschutz im Zweiten Weltkrieg“ (Art Protection in the Second World War) (conference report DE-Marburg), in: Rundbrief Fotografie, Vol. 17 (2010), No. 2, p. 40-44, here p. 42. . In Munich, Schallert embedded her analysis of the photographs in Heydenreich’s creation of a “Generalbildarchiv” (general image archive). On account of the Allied forces’ advancement, Schmidt carried out photograph campaigns primarily in the hitherto undocumented centres of art in Northern Italy. However, despite the appropriation by German art protection governed by Heydenreich as well as by the Foreign Affairs Office, she maintained, Schmidt organised the campaigns himself and personally gave the Italian professional photographers on-site briefings on the documentary goals of art protection photography. To support her thesis, Schallert also referred to Schmidt’s behaviour in the depository in Sand in Taufers (South Tirol) in 1945 where he was supposed to take photographs of the Uffizi paintings. A letter written by Joseph Ringlers dated February 25, 1945 contains Schmidt’s criticism of the photographers assigned to him, who had no experience in taking photographs of paintings.
CARLOTTA COCCOLI (Università di Brescia), with her presentation, “The Italian Monuments and War: Preventive Protection, First Aid, and Repairs“ provided an insertion of additional information and analysis on the measures taken by the MFA&A from their landing on Sicily until the end of the war, focusing on their cooperation with the Italian soprintendenze. Coccoli distinguished between three phases of MFA&A efficiency: firstly, the “testing ground” phase from July 1943 to May 1944, which served as a period of organisation and preparation in Southern Italy, secondly the “full efficiency” phase from June 1944 to April 1945 in Central Italy with a sufficient range of map material and a functioning exchange between American and British members, and lastly the phase of “demobilization” from May 1945 to January 1946 with the recovery of mobile works of art from depositories established in Northern Italy by the German occupants. The systematic and efficient approach after the summer 1944 may in fact be counted as successful MFA&A action, but compared to other fields of operation, Italy, she concluded, was a “test case”.
ROLF SACHSSE (Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, Saarbrücken), in his comments, praised the exploration of Heydenreich’s process in choosing German and Italian photographs, as well as the attempts at an aesthetic categorisation made by the contributors as excellent. For future studies of the Italian professional photographers’ motivation, however, he recommended that also their training and additional employment should be analysed. Although most photographers had been educated in the great Italian studios, there are prominent exceptions, such as Claudio Emmer who was trained in Cologne by architecture photographer Hugo Schmölz (1879–1938), and is very likely to have a different imprinting with respect to ruin photography.
ALESSANDRA CIANGHEROTTI (British School, BSR, Rome), in her presentation, gave the example of a British photograph collection of destroyed works of art and provided a research source concerning art protection in Italy. Between 1943 and 1945, John Bryan Ward-Perkins– during the Second World War head of the MFA&A Sub-Commission, and from 1945 to 1972 head of the BSR – produced black-and-white positives and negatives himself, and collected those produced by Italian photographers. The photo archive today holds more than 40,000 photographs. In 2007, with the help of the Getty Foundation, it was even possible for the BSR to digitalise and catalogue the gelatine silver prints of the so-called “war damage series”. The set of documents contains photographs of monuments destroyed by air raids as well as protection measures and reconstruction work processes. In Italy, Ward-Perkins collected, among others things, photographs of the Instituto Luce, the Antonio Paoletti studio, as well as photographs by George Silk. Database at <http://www.bsrdigitalcollections.it> (20.06.2010). Being a member of the Unione Romana di Biblioteche Scientifiche, the BSR makes use of the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names for this project. Quality assurance is also achieved through a continuous process of improving the meta-data and the research categories.
COSTANZA CARAFFA (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institute), in a presentation prepared in cooperation with Alessandro Nova and Gerhardt Wolf, presented the relationships between the Florence KHI office and the organisation of German Military Art Protection. She based her argument on a small collection of written documents recently discovered at the KHI, which dates from the years between Heydenreich’s inauguration in 1943 and the relocation of the Art Protection headquarters to Milan in June 1944. In February 1944, Alexander Langsdorff moved the art protection headquarters to the Palazzo Guadagni, Florence, near the KHI, which suggests a closer involvement of Heydenreich in the activities of art protection from that point onwards. One of her main points was that Heydenreich’s correspondence with the Art Protection members Evers and Langsdorff suggests a rather ambivalent image of the head of the Florence institute and Art Protection member caught between cold propagandist calculation and reluctant compliance with the regime. In December 1943 Heydenreich informed Evers about the instruction issued by the Foreign Affairs Authorities to delay the northward transportation of the Florence Archive in order not to disquiet the people in Florence more than necessary. Subsequently, she emphasised the documents kept at the KHI which hold information on Heydenreich’s post-war evaluation as important sources, distinguishing between softening depictions of his art protection activity as “cultural policy” on the German side and the interrogations conducted by the Allies as a largely objective source. After the end of the war, American Authorities had at first evaluated Heydenreich as loyal to the regime and only after close analysis came to recognize his work as scholarly valuable.
While all papers presented that far had been devoted to German Military Art Protection campaigns in the most important culture and artistic centres in southern and central Italy, the last two presentations of the second day of the conference concentrated on marginal areas in terms of territory and subject matter. At first, MICHAEL WEDEKIND (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster) analysed Nazi cultural policy in the operation zones “Alpenvorland” and “Adriatisches Küstenland” (1943–1945) and identified important differences between the two jurisdictions with respect to the protection and the looting of cultural goods. On September 10, 1943 operation zones were established with the Chief Commissioners Franz Hofer and Friedrich Rainer. The “Alpine Foothills” zone, whose administrative headquarters were in Bolzano, encompassed the provinces South Tirol, Trentino, and Belluno; the Adriatic Coastal Region extended across Udine, Gorizia, Pola, Fiume, Kvarner, Laibach, and Triest. Both were subordinate to the Salò Government. However, the appointment of German ‘Commissioners’ manifested Hitler’s influence. The office of the Denkmalschutzbeautragter (appointee for monument conservation) in Trieste was held by art historian Walter Frodl. Together with his assistant Erika Hanfstaengl, he was involved in the dislocation of important Jewish library possessions and at least made an effort to index all art and cultural objects prior to their removal. Beginning in September 1943, he was in charge of shipping—mostly Jewish—library possessions to Carinthia, including the precious library of the Jewish congregation in Trieste. In the Alpine Foothills, Wedekind continued, Nazi cultural policy was of a much more deterministic nature. To highlight the role of the pre-Christian, Germanic tradition as ‘völkisches Erbe’ (ethnic heritage) and to achieve a “Rückdeutschung” (re-Germanisation) of the country, the existing material of cultural facts was selected in a systematic process. Among these measures primarily taken in South Tirol were analyses of voice recordings or last name sequences by Wolfgang Steinacker and Alwin Seifert.
A thematically marginal research area and objective was presented by NIGEL POLLARD (Swansea University) with his presentation on art protection measures taken by the Allies and war damage inflicted on antique cultural objects in Italy. According to Pollard, this area has up to now been widely neglected chiefly because the number of antique objects destroyed by war is relatively small compared to pieces from the Art of Modernity. One of the most heavily damaged antique places was Pompeii with 170 explosion impacts see Laurentino Garcia y Garcia, Danni di guerra a Pompei. Una dolorosa vicenda quasi dimenticata, (Studi SAP 15), Rome 2006. However, the documents which he has thus far analyzed—diary entries or reports by Allied soldiers about the situation on the excavation sites—held valuable information usable to reconstruct the ruins in their pre-war condition. Regarding the usability of the records created by soldiers and the multitude of layman reports see for example Spike Milligan, Mussolini: His part in my downfall, London 1978. In addition, measures such as the Oral History Project of the Centro internationale per gli studi di Herculaneum allow clarifying locals’ and occupants’ special treatment of antique monuments and researching the foundations of British archaeology in the Southern Alpine area after 1945. <http://herculaneumcentre.digitalmente.it/> (27.06.2010). Concerning the recovery of British archaeology after 1945, Pollard placed particular emphasis on the significance of using aerial photographs. For this see John Bradford, Ancient Landscapes. Studies in field archeology, London 1957.
On the second day of the conference, a commentary provided by CHRISTINA KOTT (Institut d'histoire du temps présent, Paris) discussed the heterogeneous character and the widely scattered repositories of the visual documents. Making reference to the workshop “Kunstschutz im Zweiten Weltkrieg” (Art Protection during the Second World War) held in Marburg in January 2010 and the proposals it produced to create a network of image archives also visibly present and publicly accessible on the Internet, Kott, stressed the cooperation of all present institutions, e.g. through digital data exchange, as a valuable scholarly goal. In the subsequent discussion, the goal was announced to establish international exchange also with respect to reconstructing the biographies of individual art protection members.
In the evening presentation of the second day, LUCIA ALLAIS (Princeton University) with her paper “How to Miss Cultural Sites” set out to determine the Allies’ motivation to preserve Italian cultural objects and protect them from air assaults. While civilian Institutions, such as the Roberts Commission primarily pursued scholarly interests, military operations also served symbolic political goals, such as recognition by the Italian people. The projects which intended to create ‘momentum’ in favour of the Allies among the Italian civilians included ‘trainings’ for the Allied Air Force soldiers and the use of the so-called Bomber’s Baedeker before and during the conflicts in Italy. It is true that Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower, when Allied air operations began in 1943, had intended to limit the targets to industrial zones and areas in which their own troops were immediately endangered—an operation called “designer battles”. However, the attacks were meant to cause a moral ‘reversal’ among the population. In her conclusion, Allais focusing on the success of Allied conservation and protection, stated that although most of the existing maps and lists of buildings refer to Italy, precision of the bombings increased in later operations (France, Germany).
Both presentations of the final conference day, after considering visual sources of various art protection measures, offered a last glance at German Military Art Protection in Italy. CECILIA GHIBAUDI (Pinatcoteca di Brera, Milan), with the help of several case studies, elaborated on Franchi’s observations concerning the suspicion of Italian art and monument protection authorities. In central and northern Italy, according to the Treaty of Cassibile, they were subordinate to the RSI Ministero dell'Educazione Nazionale, which supported the transport of cultural objects and the looting by the German occupants. In Urbino and Umbria, for example, Pasquale Rotondi (Italian art historian and conservator of the town of Urbino) and Achille Bertini Calosso (Superintendent of the Umbrian monuments and art galleries in Perugia) responded by establishing a secret repository. Head of the Lombard monument and art authorities, Guglielmo Pacchioni ‘stole’—alarmed by the loyalty to the regime which he found in the director of the Milan collection—pieces which for ‘protection purposes’ were to be transported from various towns in Italy to Germany, as well as pieces from museums in Rome which Mussolini had intended to transfer to Germany. After brief storage in a hiding place of the Banca D’Italia, the pieces were moved to Villa Giulia, Bellagio on Lake Como.
Analysing the “Bildpropaganda der Wehrmacht” (Visual Propaganda by the Wehrmacht), MARTIN MOLL (Karl-Franzens-Universität, Graz), took another close look at the image material created in Italy between 1943 and 1945, and compared the heterogeneous art protection photographs with visibly propagandist image compilations of the Wehrmacht propaganda divisions (PK). The photographs taken by the propaganda divisions were published in super regional military and civilian newspapers such as “Signal”, “Der Adler”, “Die Wehrmacht”, or “Illustrierter” and “Völkischer Beobachter”. Aside from reports on the technical superiority of the German troops, the photographs were used to furnish articles on the positive impact which the German occupation allegedly had on Italian art, always presenting the Wehrmacht as ‘preservers’. Next to depicting scenes of the restoration process, most photographs presented the operations undertaken by the Wehrmacht as tourist-like behaviour on exotic terrain.
The final discussion was directed by Elena Franchi, Lutz Klinkhammer, Rainer Volk (Bayerischer Rundfunk, Bavarian Broadcasting) and Kerstin von Lingen (Universität Heidelberg). Together with all participants, they discussed problems, perspective and future objectives of research on art protection in Italy between 1943 and 1945. It was agreed that the most important further research interests are thorough examination of the biographies of art protection members, an in-depth analysis of the cooperation of art protection and the Italian Soprintendenze, as well as a study of the post-war careers of art protection members. Finally, it was maintained that an interconnected network between all nations and institutions involved in the study of art protection be created—e.g. through net-based image databases—as the basis for both international and local research projects, there being no other way to guarantee complete coverage of the text and image source material available. Regarding the significance of analogue archives the participants of the conference consented to the “Florence Declaration” presented by Constanza Carraffa, which favors the preservation of analogue photograph archives.
Wolf Tegethoff (ZI)
Adriano Chiodi Cianfarani (Consolato Generale d’Italia a Monaco di Baviera)
Bernd Neumann (Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien/German Government’s Appointee for Culture and Media)
Ministerialdirigent Toni Schmid (Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst/Bavarian Ministry of State for Science, Research and Art)
Moderator: Elisabeth Kieven (Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome – Max-Planck-Institute)
Ruggero Ranieri (Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello Foundation, Perugia): “The Allies and the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Italy during the Second World War”
Christian Fuhrmeister (ZI): “German Military Art Protection in Italy (1943–1945) – Current State of Research, Central Questions, Research Objectives”
Elena Franchi (Laboratorio di Arti Visive – Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa): Trust and suspicion: the difficult relationship between the Repubblica Sociale Italiana and the Kunstschutz. Some controversial events
Commentary: Carlo Gentile (University of Cologne)
Lutz Klinkhammer (Deutsches Historisches Institut, Rome): “Theft or Protection? Italian Art Properties and the Activities of German Government Offices in the Occupied Area of Italy 1943–1945”
Opening of the Exhibition: “Documentation and Propaganda in the Photograph Archive of the German Military Art Protection in Italy (1943–1945) by Stephan Klingen (ZI), Location: Lichthof Nord (ZI)
Moderator: Ulrich Pohlmann (Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum)
Kai Kappel (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz): “Ways to “Kunstschutz”? The Visual Language of German Ruin Photography”
Ralf Peters (ZI): “The Chase after the Photograph – The Image Archive of German Military Art Protection in Italy”
Regine Schallert (Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome – Max-Planck-Institute): “‘Sonderfuehrer’ Hans Werner Schmidt”
Carlotta Coccoli (Università di Brescia): “The Italian Monuments and War: Preventative Protection, First Aid and Repairs: The Role of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Sub-commission in Italy during the Second World War”
Commentary: Rolf Sachsse (Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, Saarbrücken)
Moderator: Iris Lauterbach (ZI)
Alessandra Ciangherotti (British School, Rome): “The J.B. Ward-Perkins Photograph Collection: the War Damage Series – an Overview”
Costanza Caraffa, Alessandro Nova, Gerhard Wolf (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institute): “‘Kunstschutz’ and the Institute of History of Art in Florence”
Michael Wedekind (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster): “Nazi Cultural Policy in the Operation Zones ‘Alpenvorland’ and ‘Adriatisches Küstenland’ 1943–1945”
Nigel Pollard (Swansea University): “War Damage to Monuments and Works of Art of the Greco-Roman Period in Italy”
Christina Kott (Institut d'histoire du temps présent, Paris)
Lucia Allais (Princeton University): “‘How to Miss Cultural sites’ – The American Protection of European Monuments from Aerial Bombing during World War II: the Case of Italy”
Moderator: Christian Fuhrmeister (ZI)
Cecilia Ghibaudi (Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan): “1943-1945: La Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan and the Second World War”
Martin Moll (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz): “Image Propaganda of the Wehrmacht”
Elena Franchi (Laboratorio di Arti Visive – SNS Pisa)
Rainer Volk (Bayerischer Rundfunk)
Johan Schloemann (Süddeutsche Zeitung)
Kerstin von Lingen (University of Heidelberg)
Lutz Klinkhammer (Deutsches Historisches Institut, Rome)
If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it through the network, at: http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/.
Franziska Scheuer. Review of , German Military Art Protection in Italy (1943–1945).
H-Soz-u-Kult, H-Net Reviews.
Copyright © 2011 by H-Net, Clio-online, and the author, all rights reserved. This work may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial, educational purposes, if permission is granted by the author and usage right holders. For permission please contact H-SOZ-U-KULT@H-NET.MSU.EDU.