Rudolf Mosse was a successful entrepreneur, progressive political thinker and philanthropist in the late 19th and early 20th century. Rudolf’s business leadership and industry foresight created a phenomenally successful publishing and advertising enterprise in Germany. The enterprise published 130 newspapers and journals, which included its flagship newspaper, Berliner Tageblatt (created in 1872).
Following Rudolf’s death in 1920, his sole heir was his daughter Felicia Lachmann-Mosse. Her husband Hans Lachmann-Mosse became the publisher of the Berliner Tageblatt. The newspaper was an outspoken critic of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists, and the Lachmann-Mosse family became a symbol of the hated “Jewish press.” Following Hitler’s assumption of power, in the space of three months in 1933, the newspaper’s publisher Hans Lachmann-Mosse and many of its leading Jewish staff members were forced to leave Germany. The Nazi government took control of Mosse family property, including the Rudolf Mosse Company and the Berliner Tageblatt, as well as Rudolf and Hans’ prized art collection.
After the Reich placed the Rudolf Mosse Foundation (as the Company was known once the Nazi’s (took control) into receivership, it confiscated and disposed of the family’s artwork and artifacts at auction — published in auction house catalogs (Lepke and Union). This documentation does not represent the entirety of the Mosse family art collection. Items were removed from the collection after the confiscation and prior to the auctions.
The Project has resulted in the restitution of several works of art including items that were not sold at auction validating that art from the confiscated Mosse Collection was disposed of by other means. The Project is an active investigation and restitution project conducted by Rudolf Mosse’s heirs. The Project is managed by J. Eric Bartko under the guidance of John J. Bartko and Martin I. Zankel. Charles “Chuck” La Bella and Robert H. Bunzel are active providers of advice and insight to the Project.