BERLIN – When Hilde Schramm inherited several paintings collected by her father, Hitler’s chief architect and armaments minister Albert Speer, she was only sure of one thing: she didn’t want them.
Despite determining they probably hadn’t been looted from Jews during World War II, she wanted their legacy to somehow benefit others. So she came up with a plan to sell them and use the proceeds to support Jewish women’s creative projects in Germany.
In 1994, that became the Zurueckgeben foundation, a project for which Schramm received an Obermayer German Jewish History Award on Monday.
The foundation’s name translates as “return”, and Schramm said it was intentionally chosen to emphasise its goal of raising awareness at a time when looted Jewish property and art was a little talked-about issue.
Unlike many other top Nazis, who committed suicide or were executed after the war, Albert Speer served 20 years in a Berlin prison for war crimes.