A French publisher has released the first complete list of artwork Nazi leader Hermann Göring seized during World War II, which some say could help return the art to its rightful owners.
Handwritten lists, which Flammarion published last week and art historian Jean-Marc Dreyfus compiled and released last week, document about 1,400 pieces of stolen art, including paintings by Renoir and Monet, as well as 250 sculptures and 168 tapestries, according to the Telegraph.
France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a preface to the publication that the artwork, which Nazis either stole or forced the owners to sell, belongs to Jewish families, the Freemasons and Nazi political opponents.
Art historians have partially known the collection’s contents for years. Göring, who became the second-most powerful man in the German government next to Adolph Hitler, created the Gestapo and set up the first concentration camps, and used his power to enrich himself, which included collecting valuable art.
Some artwork has been identified and reclaimed, but as recently as this year, Göring’s daughter made a case for why much of the art should be returned to her. The Bavarian parliament rejected her claim in a matter of minutes, the Telegraph reported.
The list’s publication is expected to raise new inquiries into Göring’s collection, but Fabius says it has more than historic value, reminding the world of the importance of art.
“Works of art should never be targets,” Fabius said. “They constitute the common good of humanity.”