Concealed Histories: Uncovering the Story of Nazi Looting
The Gilbert Collection is one of the most important collections of decorative arts in the world. Stunning as they are, some of these beautiful objects conceal a troubling history. The V&A is committed to proactive research into the history of ownership – or 'provenance' – of the items in its care. This is particularly important in the light of events between 1933 and 1945, when Jewish people in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe had their possessions systematically taken from them by the Nazis. Despite significant efforts after the Second World War, many of these objects were never returned to their rightful owners.
As children of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert were acutely aware of Nazi crimes. But like many other collectors, they did not ask questions about the provenance of the masterpieces they collected. This tour will reveal what our research has uncovered so far, and what remains yet unknown about the history of these treasures.