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Mühlmann, Kajetan

Austrian, 1898 - 1958

Kajetan Mühlmann, referred to by historian Jonathan Petropoulos as "arguably the single most prodigious art plunderer in the history of human civilization," achieved this dubious distinction through a combination of opportunism and service to the Nazi party. Educated in art history at the University of Vienna, Mühlmann's association with the Nazis began in Austria in 1934, that is during the period prior to the Anschluss when the party was banned in Austria. He was closely affiliated with Arthur Seyss-Inquart, later Reichskommissar in the Netherlands. Both Mühlmann and Seyss-Inquart benefitted from the liquidation of Jewish property in Austria which began in 1938. Mühlmann then moved on to the plundering of art in Poland, having been appointed by Goering as Special Delegate of the Reichsmarschall for the Securing of Artistic Treasures in the Former Polish Territories. In 1940 his colleague Seyss-Inquart arranged for Mühlmann to supervise the plunder of art in the Netherlands, where he established a sort of clearing house for art works confiscated from Jews and others, providing art to the Nazi elite and selling the rest via consignments throughout the Reich. Mühlmann left the Netherlands in the summer of 1944 and spent the remainder of the war without specific duties. He was captured by the Americans in June 1945 and interned. He managed to escape custody in 1948 and was never apprehended. He died in Munich and is buried in Salzburg. [Biography summarized from Jonathan Petropoulos, The Faustian Bargain: The Art Market in Nazi Germany, New York, 2000:170-204]
Rousseau, Theodore. Detailed Interrogation Report No. 8. Subject : Kajetan Mühlmann. 15 September 1945 [National Archives and Record Administration]
Nicholas, Lynn H. The Rape of Europa. New York, 1994, 67-72, 98-102, 105-107, 112-114.
Petropoulos, Jonathan. The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany. New York, 2000:170-204
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