Books & Publications:

'Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens'

Events and Conferences


Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens


Sophie Lillie


November 2003


During the Nazi regime in Austria, thousands of artworks were seized from Vienna’s Jewish families. Still today, very few pieces have found their way back to their rightful owners and descendants, despite numerous recovery efforts and new restitution laws. Who were these collectors?  What valuable pieces were expropriated?  Where is the missing art now?

In Was einmal war, art historian Sophie Lillie documents the fate of 148 collections seized by the Nazis from Viennese Jews and 
uncovers the paths taken by some of the most important of the looted artworks.  The book provides portraits of the dispossessed collectors, includes copies of Gestapo seizure inventories and identifies the location of works of art that have been considered destroyed or missing since the Third Reich.

The collections are presented in alphabetical order with more than 350 photographs of mostly previously unpublished material. Among the plundered art are collections of Old Masters including Rembrandt and Tintoretto, 19h century paintings from Rudolf von Alt to Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, and Austrian works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka.

Was einmal war  is an important reference book for families, researchers, collectors, curators and dealers.  It is published in German by Czernin Verlag, Vienna, ISBN 3-7076-0049-1. 
return to list of books and publications
© website copyright Central Registry 2022