Nazis: Wanted owner of a Rousseau painting stolen in World War II – Art and Theater – Culture

After 76 years of exile in Germany, a small painting by Nicolas Rousseau stolen in France under Nazi occupation is exhibited at the World Peace Center in Verdun (east), in the hope of finding its rightful owners or successors.

For about ten days, the oil on canvas of the French painter, student of the Barbizon School, has hung in the lobby of the World Center for Peace, Freedoms and Human Rights, visited by 60,000 visitors every year.

“If you recognize the landscape or have any information about this painting, we thank you for informing it”, is written next to the painting, which represents a person sitting on the banks of a river between large trees, a town in the distance under a sky cloudy.

(In photos: artworks depicting the coronavirus pandemic)

“We wanted it to be accessible to visitors immediately when they entered and free of charge,” explains the establishment’s director, Philippe Hansch, who went to Berlin to collect the work in early August.

“There is pride and emotion, a lot of happiness, but also a responsibility,” he confessed. More than its commercial value, the small untitled canvas by Nicolas Rousseau, painted in the 19th century and estimated at between 3,000 and 5,000 euros (3,500 and 5,900 dollars), has “inestimable historical value,” he stressed.

“The painting is a great symbol of Franco-German friendship and allows us to tell the story of the Second World War with a fresh look from the French side and the German side,” commented the director.

In the spring of 1944, Alfred Forner, a Luftwaffe (Air Force) noncommissioned officer, stationed in France, somewhere between Normandy and Saint-Omer (Pas-de-Calais), was commissioned to bring a painting to Berlin during a leave . When the NCO shows up at the indicated address, the building was in ruins.

“In a pragmatic way, he goes home, leaves the painting there and comes back to the front,” Hansch explained. He died in combat a few months later, in the summer of 1944.

The small painting -38 x 55 cm- hangs in the Berlin family room for 75 years.

A brave gesture

In January 2019, Alfred’s son, Peter Forner, contacted the French Embassy in Berlin: he wanted to return the painting and, above all, to find its owners. “Peter Forner had a health accident four or five years ago with a long stay in the hospital.

He made a list of things to do and among the first was to return the painting, “says Julien Acquatella of the Commission for the Compensation of Expoliation Victims (CIVS) in Berlin. Most of these victims are Jewish families.

“It was a very brave gesture and a natural act for him: this painting did not belong to his family. It was something that should weigh on his conscience,” added Acquatella.

(It may interest you: María Isabel Rueda mixes two utopian visions in her work)

The CIVS and the Mission of Investigation and Restitution of cultural property plundered between 1933 and 1945, which depends on the French Ministry of Culture, have sought since then, but in vain, to identify the owners or beneficiaries of the bucolic landscape.

“It is a very difficult case because the painting is not of great value, so it is not necessarily cataloged. It is a vast search field,” noted Acquatella, who nonetheless does not lose hope.

The exhibition of the painting, “an unpublished device”, according to him, aims to identify the owners, while fulfilling the last wish of Forner, who died last May at the age of 80: to present the work in a place that embodies the peace and Franco-German friendship so that it becomes an object of pedagogy.

An official restitution ceremony will be held in October at the World Peace Center, housed in a former episcopal palace. The work will then join an exhibition on the end of World War II, scheduled for the end of the year.

Other news of cultural interest:


80 years ago, a poem of Kipling in the face of the nazis entering Paris

The Cross : What happened on June 14, 1940, at the Museum of Man ?

André Delpuech : This morning, the director of the Musée de l’homme, Paul Rivet, takes the initiative to post on the door a poem by the british writer Rudyard Kipling, published in 1885, entitled Thou shalt be a man, my son “, which ends by the famous verse : “If you can keep your courage and your head/When all others lose/Then the Kings, the Gods, the Chance and the Victory/ Will be forever your submissive slaves, / And, which is better than the Kings and Glory / and Thou shalt be a man, my son. “

This act of resistance, on the day of the entry of the Germans in Paris, marked the spirits. Paul Rivet is a physician, anthropologist and américaniste, a former member of the popular Front. He has been engaged in the renovation of the Museum of the Trocadero in 1938, which became the Museum of Man, where then work fifty researchers and technicians, specialists in anthropology and ethnology.

For this director’s iconic, the role of science is to raise awareness and alert on the dangers that threaten society. As early as 1934, while Hitler has been appointed chancellor the previous year in Germany, he founded, together with the physicist Paul Langevin and the philosopher Alain, the Committee of vigilance of the intellectual antifascists.

Paul Rivet located in the museum of German-jewish exiles, and Russian émigrés, including the ethnographer, Boris Vildé and the linguist Anatole Lewitsky. On July 14, 1940, he published an open letter to marshal Petain in which he is critical of the regime with a vengeance, which earned him to be relieved of his duties. Put in danger, he left Paris on 11 February 1941 and joined the British, escaping a police raid of the Gestapo to 24 hours.

That started Paul Rivet at the Museum of Man ?

A. D. : A resistance network is in place as of the summer of 1940 under the leadership of Boris Vildé, Anatole Lewitsky and the librarian Yvette Odo. It is one of the first groups clandestine struggle against the Nazis to appear in occupied France. Around this core revolve of individuals with strong character that the writer Jean Cassou, the journalist Pierre Brossolette, the art historian Agnès Humbert, or Sylvette Leleu, the owner of a garage in Béthune.

The group is working with small units spread throughout the territory by participating in the escape of prisoners and the collection of information. It plays an important role in the information of the Parisians misled by the propaganda of the Vichy regime by publishing in December 1940 the diary Resistance from information from the BBC and an informant working at the embassy of the United States.

In 1941, as reported, Boris Vildé, Yvette Oddon and Anatole Lewitsky are incarcerated. It was then that Germaine Tillon, anthropologist, specialist of the Berbers of Algeria, takes over a part of the museum’s activities. In January 1942, following the trial of these resistant that the press calls the” Case of the Museum of Man “ten of the defendants are sentenced to death, the leaders of the network Boris Vildé and Anatole Lewitsky. Yvonne Oddon finally being deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Seven men are executed by firing squad at Mont-Valérien in 1942. On 13 August, Germaine Tillon is stopped to turn and then deported in 1943 to Ravensbrück concentration camp. It is the end of the network at the Museum of Man.

How it resonates with the world today ?

A. D. : The men and women of the network of the Museum of Man have continued to fight to defend the freedom of thought, access to knowledge and the equality of peoples. Since its reopening and its complete redesign in 2015, the Museum of Man continues the missions laid down by its first director : to defend a message of humanist and universalist, and to fight obscurantism.

Through his exhibitions (such as “We and the other, from prejudice to racism “ in 2017-2018), and based on science, the Museum allows one to see the unity of the human species in its diversity so that the public can better understand it.


Swastikas, Hitler greetings … Nazi death camps suffer a denialist offensive



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Swastika, selfies with Hitler greetings or denialist inscriptions in the guest books are one of the many provocations increasingly alarming those responsible for memory sites installed in the old ones Nazi death camps.

“Incidents in these enclaves have always existed but an increase is noted“Acknowledges Volkhard Knigge, director of the Memorial of the concentration camp of Bunchenwald.

“The messages that glorify Nazism or call for the reopening of the camps for foreigners are increasingly frequent,” laments this historian. Not counting the visitors who pose for the usual photography before the cremation ovens or revisionist stickers.

Another recent phenomenon that they have found is the increasing number followers of revisionist theories that disturb the normal course of Guided visits. Uwe Neumärker, director of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe erected in Berlin, corroborates the facts: “They make us questions about the veracity of the genocide. These kinds of things didn’t happen to us a few years ago.

Precisely, this year I know It commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of most of the Nazi-built death camps in Europe, where some 6 million Jews were killed. The Bunchenwald event took place last Saturday, but the coronavirus pandemic forced to cancel the commemorations and virtually honor victims.

«Monument of shame»

This trend continues as the German generations that they lived through the war they are disappearingand he goes lightening the feeling of guilt for the crimes of the Third Reich.

At the same time, the importance of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has grown in recent years. This anti-immigrant party has imposed itself strongly on the German political landscape since 2013 and several of its members have put in culture questioned german regret for the Nazi horrors.

One of the leaders, Björn Höcke, called for a “180 degree turn” in the culture of German memory. He also branded «Monument of shame» to the Memorial of the murdered Jews in Europe.

Another leader, Alexander Gauland, exhorted his fellow citizens to feel proud of the soldiers of the German army they fought during World War II.

“Is a strategy adopted by the extreme right and the AfD: who always wants to push the limits so that his thinking seems normal, ”says Bianca Klose, representative of the Berlin association Ambulant Council Against the Extreme Right (MBR). “Along with these sporadic flashes, there is that permanent pressure,” he explains.

Since their arrival in almost all regional parliaments, several AfD deputies have tried to influence the cultural-historical programming of memory sites.

The memorials adapt

In Germany, 15 former concentration camps are used as memorials. In 2018, the best-known ones – Dachau, Neuengamme, Sachsenhausen, Bergen-Belsen, Flossenbürg, Ravensbrück and Buchenwald – received more than 2.8 million visitors. Faced with the denialist offensive, the memorials have had to be adapted.

The director of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe allows guides to accept or refuse to accompany to groups of AfD visitors. The guides also received a training for face provocations. Like the person in charge of the Buchenwald site, Neumärker prohibits access to some AfD members. In the Neuengamme camp, the guides are reinforced when delegations from the far-right group arrive.

Some memorials have introduced a norm against extremists that prohibits access of people whose clothing refer to the Third Reich.

Financing video surveillance cameras or security agents absorbs many funds that “would be more than useful in pedagogy,” especially for the “younger,” says Knigge. In fact, he regrets that the hours of classes devoted to Nazism have “disappeared” in recent years. And “it is that memorials cannot compensate for what schools have failed to do,” he laments.


At war with boredom: smoky trip-hop, spaghetti and souvenirs

With a Nazi architect

“Walking is forbidden, we still have the process, in particular that of the artists”, jokes Guillaume Monsaingeon, curator of “Steps, Steps”, in a video that serves as a substitute for the exhibition. Open on February 8, the cultural event closed its doors but is not treading water. Since it is no longer possible to run, climb or hike, we walk in thought alongside artists and we explore in imagination the sleeping rooms of the Frac thanks to the skillful online conferences of Guillaume Monsaingeon. So we follow Francis Alÿs in the footsteps of the Nazi architect Albert Speer. In the video Albert’s Way, the Belgian artist goes around in a closed room for seventy hours (ten hours a day for seven days). It traces the journey of the architect of Hitler who had revisited in his cell all the places through which he had passed in his life. For Francis Alÿs, these 118 surveyed kilometers also represent a small portion of the way to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. Alÿs thus makes walking an exercise of the mind, both physical and spiritual.

With muddy breakbeats

There are two types of trip-hop records: monuments and mediocre ones. The second ones are countless and don’t deserve to be talked about. The first, anxiety-addicted soulful attempts or inventions for vinyl crackles and drum loops at DJ Premier, are few, all prototypes, and infinitely tripping. So Smokers Delight, classic among the classics, was composed by the leedsian b-boy George Evelyn while the world expected him a new pack of futuristic house, in line with his first hits bleep’n’bass. Nay: the Englishman, raised to the soul and the good seed of cannabis, wanted only muddy breakbeats to accompany his escapes on the sofa. In doing so, he invented a genre, his own, and gave birth to the masterpiece of smoky music. The album celebrates its quarter century and comes out in a slightly enlarged version, ready to add sound to your wildest breakaways under Pinot Noir and CBD.

Photo Federico Garolla

With Pasolini, in Rome

Since it is no longer possible to wander around Rome today in search of the best spaghetti cacio e pepe, this is a great opportunity to rediscover the site that the Cinémathèque française initiated on the occasion of the Pasolini Roma exhibition and retrospective in 2013. On a map, 50 emblematic addresses are geolocated which refer you to a set of texts, photos and videos displaying the biography and intellectual system of the writer and filmmaker, from his arrival in the city, Stazione Termini, with his mother on the 28 January 1950, at his terrible death on an Ostia beach on the night of 1er to November 2, 1975. From the filming sites to the places of dredgers, from the various apartments to the Campo dei Fiori, crowded with people for his funeral, “Friendship, literature, politics, love, sex, cinema” to cross again in a moving map.

Maurice Nadeau Ruth Zylberman“Maurice Nadeau”, Ruth Zylberman

With a huge editor

Documentary filmmaker Ruth Zylberman, author of the recent the Children of 209 rue Saint-Maur, has put his film for free on the great journalist and editor Maurice Nadeau. Huge editor who published and made discover in France Malcolm Lowry, Varlam Chalamov, Witold Gombrowicz, Walter Benjamin, Georges Perec, Michel Houellebecq… And founded New Letters, become the Literary Fortnight. “When they have been refused everywhere, they come to me. And often it’s worth it. ” Diving in his library, in his memories of writers, editorial meeting of the fortnight. A beautiful portrait of the publisher who died on June 16, 2013 at 102 years old.

Photo DR

With cool goths

In the midst of a surge of confining anxiety, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have completed two new albums by Nine Inch Nails, Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts – the first is intended to reflect an optimistic scenario of the pandemic crisis and the second, its pessimistic side. If this unexpected exit, its hanging up on the news and its presentation in cream pie dilogy are enough to arouse mistrust, doubts will be quickly dispelled: far from the collection of repackaged drawer bottoms, the two discs are also exciting that generous, basically – synthesis of all that Reznor and Ross have done best, creepy atmospheres of The Downward Spiral to the frozen anagogies of the soundtrack of The Social Network – as in form – 25 tracks over almost two and a half hours in total.

Didier Péron


Frédérique Roussel


Clementine Mercier


Olivier Lamm


Lelo Jimmy Batista

Nightmares on Wax Smokers Delight 25th Anniversary Edition (Warp).

Nine Inch Nails Ghosts V and VI available on


“Colonia Dignidad”, a Nazi ogre in Chile

According to online tour operators, Villa Baviera, in Parral, Chile, offers undeniable tourist attractions: this Alpine chalet-style establishment where one speaks Spanish, English and German, with outdoor pool and restaurant, is only found ” 9 km from the hot springs of Quinamávida and Panimávida. But how to explain on Trip Advisor that this small piece of Bavaria in the middle of the Andes was, from 1961 to 1997, the HQ of a sect, the Colonia Dignidad, led by a former Nazi, Paul Schäfer, guilty of rape on 200 young boys? And also a place of detention and torture of opponents of the Pinochet dictatorship, where the Dina, sinister political police led by Manuel Contreras, was responsible for burying the tortured in the garden of this pretty Bavarian villa, while in the common rooms, the children of Schäfer followers played theAlceste Gluck? Or that the Teutonic colony was also a secret laboratory for manufacturing weapons, including biological weapons, sarin gas for example?

Fresh flesh

Psychological hold, rape of children, forced labor, participation in the torture of victims of the Chilean dictatorship, arms trafficking … the list of crimes by Paul Schäfer is long. As long as the list of his protectors, since the former Nazi could count on General Pinochet, his police and his money, but not only. “The German Embassy, ​​I hold it in my hand”, said Schäfer, and it was true for a long time. German diplomats in Santiago did not hesitate to send back in the mouth of the wolf several little boys raped by the guru of the sect, poor fugitives who came to seek help and protection from the embassy. All this under the indifferent gaze of the government in Bonn, which considered, as Chancellor Helmut Kohl put it in 1991, that what was happening at Colonia Dignidad was exclusively the problem of Chile.

The casualness of the German and Chilean authorities will in particular allow Schäfer to rape children for forty years. After he gradually forbade the followers of the Colonia Dignidad to reproduce, separating men and women, children and parents, the birth rate of the sect finally fell in the 90s. In lack of fresh flesh, Schäfer the Minotaur therefore transformed the Colonia Dignidad into a daycare center for Chilean children. It is the latter that he will then rape, until one of them, Cristobal Parada, isolates himself in the toilets of the colony, the only room without a surveillance camera, to write “Help me, get me out of there, the man puts it inside me” on a piece of paper which he will discreetly slip to a friend who has come to spend the weekend, who will transmit it to his mother.

The following complaint nevertheless leads slowly but surely to the arrest of Schäfer, who nevertheless manages to evaporate in 1997, towards Argentina where he lives until his arrest in 2005 – he will die five years later in prison. He founded the Colonia Dignidad in 1961, but it is not the date of the beginning of his misdeeds, since in the 1950s, in Germany, he had taken in war orphans in his children’s home, where he committed a unspeakable number of rapes.


This monstrous story has been relatively little told on television or in the cinema, except for the thriller Colonia by Florian Gallenberger, released in 2015, and in any case largely fictionalized. Available on, the documentary series Colonia Dignidad, a German sect in Chile (four episodes) is all the more essential, especially since it perfectly points to the remaining gray areas of this file, notably political – the attitude of the German authorities, among others. All this is all the more analyzed as there is a large quantity of video archives on the subject, television reports, propaganda clips for the “Charitable works” Colonia Dignidad, Schäfer recordings and even amateur footage taken by cult followers during the arrest of their guru to intimidate the police. But the series above all has the merit of having collected an impressive number of testimonies of primary importance: from former followers of the sect to those tortured by Pinochet, German victims of rape to the Chilean investigator who had set himself the objective of arrest Schäfer, passing by relatives of the pedophile guru. They tell everything, in simple words and lots of details.

Take Karl van den Berg, for example. This former colony leader, one of Schäfer’s right-hand men, candidly explains that he participated in the torture of an opponent of the Pinochet regime, detained in a bunker: “Paul Schäfer asked me to bring a man something to eat and drink, to evacuate his needs. I also gave her water to wash. And then the man disappeared, overnight. I don’t know how he got there, I don’t know how he got away. ” Before letting go of this chilling sentence, heard a thousand times during the trials of former Nazis, from Adolf Eichmann to Oskar Gröning: “Schäfer ordered me to do this work. I fulfilled my mission. I don’t know more about the bazaar downstairs. “

Johanna Luyssen

Colonia Dignidad, a German sect in Chile Four episodes, available on until April 9.


Turkey’s president accuses Greece of using “Nazi” tactics to push back asylum seekers


March 12, 2020 6:45:17 PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Greek security forces of behaving like Nazis for using force against asylum seekers who tried to cross the border from Turkey into the European Union.

Key points:

  • Erdogan said that Greece carried out Nazi torture and inhuman treatment of migrants
  • Greece has stated that it has a duty to protect EU borders
  • The EU is desperate to avoid the repetition of the 2015-16 migration crisis

Tens of thousands of migrants have tried to enter EU member Greece since Turkey said on February 28 that it would no longer keep them on its territory as part of a 2016 agreement with Brussels reached in exchange for European aid to refugees.

Greek security forces used tear gas and water cannons to stop migrants.

Athens suspended asylum applications for a month and said it had prevented over 42,000 migrants from entering the EU illegally in the past two weeks.

In the Turkish parliament, Erdogan showed politicians in his AK Party footage the scenes on the border with Greece.

“There is no difference between those images on the Greek border and what the Nazis did,” he said.

“Open fire to innocent people, exposing them to all types of inhuman treatment … [It] it is barbarism in the true sense of the word, “he said, reiterating his request to Greece to allow migrants to cross its territory to reach the richest countries of western Europe.

“Why are you hindering them so much and doing Nazi torture on them?” He added.

Turkey previously accused Greek security forces of shooting four migrants, an accusation rejected by Athens as “false news”.

Greece has stated that it has a duty to protect EU borders.

On Wednesday local time, a Reuters correspondent in the area saw a thick cloud of smoke floating near the village of Kastanies on the Greek side of the border and also heard a song.

“There was a lot of tension with tear gases launched by both sides on the Greek-Turkish border,” a Greek government official told Reuters.

Greece wants asylum seekers to “knock on the door”

In response to Erdogan’s latest comments, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said: “He is constantly trying to torpedo the climate with such statements.”

“We tell everyone they shouldn’t try to enter through the window. There is a door. Anyone entitled to protection should knock on that door and be entitled to protection based on international law,” added Petsas, despite Greece no longer accepting asylum requests.

He also denied a report in the New York Times that Greece detained illegal migrants on a secret “black site” where they were denied access to lawyers and were unable to file asylum applications.

Greece convened the Turkish ambassador on Wednesday to file a complaint after the Greek coast guard stated that one of his ships had been deliberately rammed by a Turkish coast guard ship.

Later on Wednesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the Greek ambassador to Ankara, who was told that Greece must stop “violations of Turkish waters and the detention of journalists,” said state-run Anadolu news agency. , without elaborating.

The EU is desperate for a repeat of the 2015-16 migration crisis when more than 1 million people, largely fleeing wars and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, hit the blockade through Turkey and Greece .

The influx strengthened support for far-right anti-EU parties.

It ended when Turkey agreed in 2016 to keep migrants on its territory in exchange for EU aid.

Erdogan said that Ankara has confirmed its part of the agreement, but that the EU has not done so.

“Until all expectations are met in a concrete way, we will continue our current practice on our borders,” said Erdogan referring to aspirations which also include updating Turkey’s customs union with the EU, relaunching its EU membership offer blocked and allowing Turks to visit the block without visas.

Turkey is home to 3.6 million nine-year-old civil war refugees in neighboring Syria and is prepared for the arrival of others as the struggle drags on.



community and society,







“Hunters” serves Aryans – Culture / Next

What name to look on the poster? That of Jordan Peele, director with a view to Get out here confined to the role of executive producer, a job in which he shines limply (cf. the fadasse remake of Twilight Zone)? That of Al Pacino, who made his late jump into the world of “peak TV” after a rather doubly comeback in great shape at Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) then Scorsese (The Irishman) ? Or that of David Weil, creator of the series strangely in sight for having rewritten the popular turnip Bird box for Netflix? Big Amazon production “based on real facts”, Hunters depicts the Nazi hunt orchestrated in America in the late 1970s by a sort of Jewish Bruce Wayne (Pacino, therefore). After a pilot as long as a film and rather on restraint, the series is taken by ridiculous convulsions grindhouse Tarantino style (re) for dummies, overplaying the badass side of his formica commando (with nickname Angela Davis and Bruce Lee) launched after the cinema Nazis. Aryan conspirators in their thirties (serious?) With an evil smile who could just as easily be reptilian illuminati …

Marius Chapuis

Hunters available on Amazon Prime Video.