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Silberbestände aus ungeklärter Herkunft im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Silke Reuther

Pages 47 - 60

The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MK&G) holds 3.100 silver objects that were confiscated during the Nazi era. A total of 20 tons of silver were seized in Hamburg. Of this, the city acquired two tons of “silver with antiquities status” for its museums. During the World War II, it was stored in the Finance Authority. As of 1945, about half of it could be returned to the rightful owners or their descendants. Hamburg bought the rest from the Jewish victims’ associations in 1959. After that, the silver was distributed among the museum collections. In 2018, the MK&G was able to identify a Kiddush cup in its silver holdings from the confiscation that belonged to the Judaica collection of Max Raphael Hahn. He was a successful businessman and passionate collector from Göttingen. His Judaica collection was among the most important private collections of its time. After Hahn’s arrest as a result of the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, the Nazis proceeded to confiscate his silver Judaica and strip the family of their property. The Hahn family then began to prepare for their escape. Hahn sent parts of the family estate to Sweden for safekeeping. He deposited some Judaica remaining in his possession, including the Kiddush cup, in a bank depository in Hamburg. Their children Rudolf and Hanni were taken to safety in England from Hamburg in 1939. Max and Gertrud Hahn moved to Hamburg in 1940 and were deported to Riga in December 1941, where they ultimately perished. The Kiddush cup passed into the confiscated silver. In 2018, it was restituted to Michael Hayden on behalf of the Hahn family. On the occasion of the handover, the MK&G and Hayden decided to launch a research project to reconstruct the provenance of Max Raphael Hahn’s lost Judaica collection. The so-called “Hahn-Projekt” has been financed by the foundation “Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste” since March 2020. In the first year, Dr. Tanja Baensch, Berlin, was the responsible provenance researcher in the project team. Since September 2021, Janine Schmitt M. A., Munich, has been working for the project.


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