Bruno lohse

The programme of art plunder initiated by Hermann Göring continued long after the war’s end

Making one’s fortune in Occupied Paris was largely a matter of knowing the right people: in fact, the further to the right the better. In 1941, Bruno Lohse, a lowly SS officer and art history PhD, was languishing on the Baltic coast recovering from a gunshot wound when he was seconded by Hermann Göring to work as his ‘personal art agent in Paris’, where he became one of history’s ‘greatest all-time art looters’. Abroad in the lawless city — able to produce, for any purpose, authorisation papers bearing the Reichsmarschall’s signature, with their talismanic power to instruct ‘all offices of the state, party and armed forces to support his work’