The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family's Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis

By Simon Goodman

“An impressive piece of history...a clean and energetic learn” (The Christian technological know-how Monitor)—the passionate, gripping, real tale of 1 man’s single-minded quest to reclaim his family’s paintings assortment, stolen by way of the Nazis in international warfare II.

Simon Goodman’s grandparents got here from German-Jewish banking dynasties and perished in focus camps. And that’s just about all he knew approximately them—his father not often referred to their relations historical past or background. but if his father passed on to the great beyond, and Simon bought his outdated papers, a narrative started to emerge.

The Gutmanns, as they have been recognized then, rose from a small Bohemian hamlet to turn into one in all Germany’s strongest banking households. in addition they collected an impressive, world-class artwork assortment that incorporated works by way of Degas, Renoir, Botticelli, Guardi, and lots of, many extra. however the Nazi regime snatched from them every thing they'd labored to construct: their notable paintings, their great wealth, their well-liked social status, and their very lives. merely after his father’s demise did Simon start to piece jointly the clues concerning the Gutmanns’ stolen legacy and the Nazi looting computer. With painstaking detective paintings throughout continents, Simon has been in a position to end up that many works belonged to his relations and effectively safe their return.

“Fascinating...splendid and tragic” (The Wall road Journal), “Goodman’s tale is alternately wrenching and inspiring...An emotional story of unspeakable horrors, kinfolk devotion, and artwork as a logo of wish” (Kirkus Reviews). it isn't merely the account of a twenty-year detective hunt for family members treasure, yet an unforgettable story of redemption and recovery.

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The Kleine Festung is a spot of tunnels and underground bunkers jam-packed with the dank odors of earth and stone and seeping rainy. Eschewing the guided excursions, i discovered myself in entrance of Gate No. 17. No. 18 used to be the mortuary mobilephone, yet No. 17 was once the doorway to a protracted tunnel. The tunnel is going during the outdated fortifications of the Kleine Festung for 1 / 4 of a mile. The lengthy, darkish, chilly tunnel is nearly unbearably claustrophobic, winding eternally ad infinitum. The experience of dread is overwhelming. i spotted my spouse, my son, and that i have been all crying. eventually there's gentle, however the aid is short-lived. it's the firing diversity, the gallows, the killing box. frequently the Gestapo and the Kapos took their sufferers the fast course from the cells to the execution website simply open air the partitions. The gate they took was once often called the Gate of dying. although, the lengthy tunnel additionally ends up in a similar position of horror. Taking the lengthy tunnel might have further an immeasurable point of sadism to the Kapos’ regimen brutality. I can’t aid considering if my grandfather took those similar steps, the final he ever might, on that day in April 1944, because the Kapos poked and prodded and dragged him. He eventually reached the sunshine in simple terms to satisfy his finish. My grandfather, the aesthetic and dignified guy with the wry smile, who stares again at me from the previous pictures, the fellow who enjoyed paintings and tune and gorgeous issues, died damaged and shattered during this forlorn ditch. • • • The scant information of Louise’s destiny are nearly unbearably cryptic. Postwar debts country that excruciating months after Fritz’s homicide, the Baroness Louise Gutmann von Landau used to be taken from the citadel on July 2 and loaded aboard a livestock wagon. along with her have been simply 9 different souls. The vacation spot was once the extermination camp of Auschwitz. in comparison to the 3 earlier transports, which incorporated over seventy-five hundred condemned, this time the SS ordered a unique shipping for simply ten undesirable prisoners from the Little castle. instantly on arrival in Auschwitz, my grandmother, the gorgeous, based lady of the fellow Ray photos, the vivacious, fun-loving lady who tore throughout Europe, shawl flying, in her LaSalle convertible, was once ordered into the “left line. ” She were spared slave hard work. This light girl was once immediately herded right into a fuel chamber and murdered. Her ashes, like these of over 1000000 others, have been subsequent dispersed via noxious black smoke from the chimneys of the overworked crematoriums. among March and November of 1944 the German killing computing device was once on the top of potency and the depths of depravity. in the course of those few brief months, whereas the Allies have been advancing (and flying overhead), the Nazis disposed of approximately 600 thousand Jewish lives in Auschwitz-Birkenau on my own. One unhappy, ultimate irony: i found that a lot of Auschwitz used to be outfitted on land initially owned via the Laurahütte mining corporation. The Laurahütte have been based in happier days through Louise’s grandfather Jacob von Landau. at the board of administrators, prior to the Nazi takeover, have been Louise’s uncle Eugen von Landau.

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