Jonathan Petropoulos


On his book Göring's Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World

Cover Interview of March 24, 2021

The wide angle

Göring’s Man in Paris is about the art world, and how profit is such a driving force that one of the greatest art plunderers of all time could insinuate himself in the respectable art world just months after being released from a French prison. The art world is secretive, as was the world of former Nazi art plunderers. It took over thirty years of research to write this book, and it was the interviews with Lohse and other figures in his circles that allowed me to understand the complex networks that he helped sustain.

The center of the networks was in Munich, the birthplace of the Nazi movement. After 1945, many old Nazis settled there, including in the areas around Lake Starnberg to the southwest of the city. Individuals in the states contiguous to Bavaria (of which Munich is the capital) played a key role in these networks. It included some in Austria (which also had many former Nazis), Switzerland (with its secretive banking culture), and Liechtenstein (which featured foundations created to evade taxes). The networks extended to other parts of Europe and to the United States. The U.S. was the most important market in the art world, and it is axiomatic that art follows money. Over 90 percent of museums in the US today were founded after 1945. Lohse and his cohort helped build their collections.