Many of the most valuable resources in reconstructing the story of Fred Grunwald’s collection were found in national and local archives in Germany. These archives were able to provide us with records of Fred Grunwald’s applications for restitution for his confiscated art collection and his loss of employment due to racial persecution. The supporting documents sent by the Grunwalds to the German government, many of which are available for download below, shed light onto the contents of Grunwald’s early print collection, and to the circumstances that led to the Grunwald family’s emigration to the United States.
Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen, Standort Berlin (Federal Office for Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues, Berlin Office)
Archive File numbers: AZ: 13 Rü SP 57/60 // Rü 707/59
This agency of the German Federal Ministry of Finance is responsible for investigating claims regarding property seizures by the National Socialists and compensating aggrieved parties. The Berlin office holds court documents pertaining to the application submitted by Fred Grunwald to the Restitution Office (Wiedergutmachungsamt) of the Duisburg District Court in December 1958, in which he claims that the Gestapo confiscated his art collection in May 1934 or 1935. With the help of his lawyer, Fritz Goode, Grunwald amended his claim in June 1960 with two affidavits that offer greater detail about his former holdings. In August, the court heard eyewitness testimony in support of Grunwald's case: one from a former neighbor in Wuppertal who claimed to have witnessed the raid, and another from dealer Alex Vömel, who worked for Alfred Flechtheim's galleries in Düsseldorf and Berlin, confirming the existence of the collection. The German government settled Grunwald's claim with a judgment of 125,000 deutsche marks. However, the whereabouts of the collection, which was said to include approximately five hundred prints and drawings, remain unknown.
Fred Grunwald Restitution Application, December 1958 [PDF, 6 pp, 1.4MB]
Fred Grunwald Restitution Application, December 1958 (English translation) [PDF, 6 pp, 250KB]
Amendment to Application with Affidavits from Fred Grunwald, June 1960 [PDF, 7 pp, 1.4MB]
Amendment to Application with Affidavits from Fred Grunwald, June 1960 (English translation) [PDF, 7 pp, 350KB]
Eyewitness Testimony and Settlement, August 1960 [PDF, 5 pp, 1.1MB]
Eyewitness Testimony and Settlement, August 1960 (English translation) [PDF, 5 pp, 1.1MB]
Translation assistance provided by Kirk Nickel.
Bezirksregierung Düsseldorf, Dezernat 15 (District Government of Düsseldorf, Department 15)
This office is responsible for compensating those victims of persecution under National Socialism who resided in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia (which includes Grunwald's birth city of Gelsenkirchen and his later residence of Wuppertal) from 1933 to 1952. Reproduced here is an affidavit from Grunwald that sheds light on his family's arduous path to the United States, as well as two partial court decisions that granted Grunwald restitution for loss of work due to racial persecution and, later, compensation for costs arising from his family's emigration to Los Angeles.
Affidavit from Fred Grunwald, November 1955 [PDF, 2 pp, 1.4MB]
Affidavit from Fred Grunwald, November 1955 (English translation) [PDF, 3 pp, 65KB]
Compensation for lost wages, December 1957 [PDF, 4 pp, 1.9MB]
Compensation for lost wages, December 1957 (English translation) [PDF, 4 pp, 90KB]
Compensation for emigration costs, April 1958 [PDF, 6 pp, 2.7MB]
Compensation for emigration costs, April 1958 (English translation) [PDF, 6 pp, 70KB]
Additional documents pertaining to Fred and Saidee Grunwald's dealings with the German government, including attempts to receive compensation for the forced closure of Fred Grunwald's business in Germany and to receive the remainder of his pension, can also be found in Düsseldorf as well as among the holdings of the Stadtarchiv in Wuppertal. The Landesarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen in Duisburg also holds documents from the secret police (Gestapo) regarding Grunwald's application for customs documents in the late 1930s.