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Flick Collection in constant controversy

Nazi-heir „begs" in Berlin for the acceptance of his ignored art collection


By Amiel Goldmond



The multimillionaire Friedrich Christian Flick from the German industrial dynasty (on the left) at a conversation with the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder in the new Chancellory on March 22, 2004. The leader of the German government prefers the modern, abstract art. He used to take along with him on foreign state visits also the art professor Jörg Immendorf (from Düsseldorf). Immendorf was arrested for cocaine use and charged with cocaine use on 27 different occasions. His court appearance is on July 20, 2004 in Düsseldorf.

Photo: Marco-VG



Berlin (bpb) The multimillionaire Friedrich Christian Flick from the famous German industrial dynasty continues to be stressed out over his collection of modern art: no official institution is interested to accept it. Switzerland has virtually thrown out this art patron because of the Nazi past of his family. Now he has been regularly "begging" for a long time in Berlin to have his collection of objects and pictures of modern, abstract art, accepted into an established institution and permanently displayed.

The German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has Friedrich Flick on his invitation list of prominent guests. Often one could see the grandson of Friedrich Flick in the Chancelorry in confidential conversation with the SPD Chancellor, who made him acceptable in the high society of Berlin. He must live with the accusation that his wealth came from the business deals of the Flick family during the Nazi times with Adolf Hitler. In addition, his critics complain that the Flick company has not participated in making cash payments to the victims of the Nazi slave labor.

Under the title "Blood money", the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) wrote on May 18, 2004: „In the controversy about the exhibition of the Flick Collection" in Berlin, the vice-president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Salomon Korn, further sharpened the tone. After he described in an inteview the planned exhibition of contemporary art as a "kind of a moral whitewash of blood money", Korn demanded in an open letter addressed to the collector Friedrich Christian Flick, the grandson of the weapons producer and war criminal Friedrich Flick, to cancel the planned exhibition.

The art patron defended himself against the accussatins also with an open letter addressed to Korn. The expression "blood money" makes him sound like a criminal. But he says that he makes the same effort as Germany has been making for the past 50 years: to be better than in the past.

To the bitter enemies of the Flick Exhibition with some 2,000 objects by some 150 artists belongs the chairwoman of the Holocaust Memorial Society in Berlin, Lea Rosche. She demands that Flick should take part in a documentary exhibition about the role of the Flick family during the Nazi times. Flick's grandfather Friedrich had belonged to the biggest suppliers of the Nazi regime.

The former chairman of the Jewish community in Berlin, Andreas Nachama, supported reconciliation. In the Berlin magazine „Tagesspiegel" he declared that there is no point in persecuting the grandchildren of the Nazi criminals for their crimes. The controversy continues. But the collection is also controversial as far as the non-political citizens are concerned, since in their opinion, the whole Flick Collection is "just all modern garbage" which belongs in the junkyard.



Copyright 2004 West Art, Prometheus 93


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Copyright 2004 West-Art

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science.

Nr. 93, Autumn 2004