„[…] wird mir der in der Schweiz befindliche Kunstbesitz genommen, bin ich völlig mittellos.“

Die Sammlung Carl Sachs in Zürich, Basel und Luzern

  • Tessa Friederike Rosebrock (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


Between 1933 and 1945, Swiss museums were holding deposits of cultural objects from collectors who emigrated from Germany to Switzerland due to persecution by the Nazi regime. This phenomenon cannot be observed to a comparable extent in any other country. Both, their quantity and the flexibility these deposits were accepted with and also transferred, are remarkable. A showcase example of an exiled art collection that was transferred several times within Switzerland is provided by the collection of the Jewish entrepreneur Carl Sachs (1868-1943). After paying all discriminatory taxes in Germany, he and his wife managed to emigrate to Basle in February 1939. Here he had to live from selling his works of art that he had managed to relocate to Switzerland. A total of six Swiss institutions (Kunsthaus Zürich, Kunstmuseum Basel, Auktionshaus Gutekunst & Klippstein in Berne, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Galerie Theodor Fischer in Lucerne, Kunsthalle Basel) stored, exhibited, purchased or helped to sell his artworks. The willingness the wishes of the depositor were met with – while those involved quickly and straightforwardly agreed to take over, present, help package, ship, purchase, and sell without asking for in return – is an interesting fact which is hard to explain. The article at hand presents different new aspects of the trading with so-called ‘Fluchtgut’ (literary ‘flight assets’). By analyzing previously unknown archival sources, it was possible to identify and localize yet more works belonging to the Carl Sachs collection.

Keywords: Carl Sachs; provenance research; collection reconstruction and relocation; ‘Fluchtgut’; Switzerland


Carl Sachs, provenance research, collection reconstruction and relocation, ‘Fluchtgut’, Switzerland