German Police Find Lost Hitler Horse Sculptures, Arrest Illegal Nazi-Art Dealers

New Reich Chancellery: garden portal, 1939.
Photo: Bundesarchiv

Art investigators at Berlin’s State Crime Bureau have found and impounded two bronze sculptures of horses and several other sculptures by Nazi artists, commissioned by Hitler, Der Spiegel reports. The works were presumed lost or destroyed for decades.

In a large-scale operation, police searched apartments and houses across Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, and Berlin.

At the home of an unnamed entrepreneur and collector in Bad Durkheim, police discovered two life-size bronze horses by the National Socialist sculptor Josef Thorak from 1939. The sculptures were reportedly intended to decorate the New Reich Chancellery. Police also seized two female figures by Fritz Klimsch, which were displayed in the garden of Hitler’s government headquarters.

Horse sculptures by Josef Thorak in the garden of the Reich's Chancellery, 1939. Photo: Picture Alliance/akg images via Der Spiegel

Horse sculptures by Josef Thorak in the garden of the Reich’s Chancellery, 1939
Photo: Picture Alliance/akg images via Der Spiegel


Officers also found a large relief by Hitler’s favorite sculptor Arno Breker, which was intended for the triumphal arch of the planned Nazi capital city, Germania.

According to a statement, eight suspects between the ages of 64 and 79 were apprehended on charges of handling stolen goods.

A police spokesperson confirmed that the artworks will be transported to a police compound for safekeeping in the coming days. The spokesperson added that the fate of the artworks would have to be decided by the federal government.

German art investigators have been preparing the raids for months in collaboration with a Dutch art detective. Many of the sculptures have been offered on the black market for about two years. The illegal art dealers had reportedly asked for up to $4.4 million for the works.

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