Germany: Gurlitts Vermächtnis – Überlegungen Zum Umgang Mit NS-Raubkunst

Last Updated: 12 September 2014
Article by Lucas Elmenhorst

Liebe Leserinnen und Leser,

möglicherweise werden spätere Generationen Cornelius Gurlitt (1932-2014) dafür dankbar sein, dass er es war, dessen Sammlung fast 70 Jahre nach Kriegsende eine überfällige, jahrzehntelang vernachlässigte, öffentliche Diskussion über NS-Raubkunst und den Umgang mit ihr ins Rollen brachte. Das überrascht. Denn dass im NS-Staat Juden drangsaliert und rücksichtslos um ihren Besitz gebracht wurden, ist nie ein Geheimnis gewesen. Es hat nur die längste Zeit Staatsanwälte, Politiker oder Feuilletons leider kaum interessiert. Zuletzt verfolgte die Öffentlichkeit staunend bis entsetzt eine Diskussion von Rechtsfragen, die darauf hinauslief, dass Cornelius Gurlitt – wie auch andere private Sammler – NS-Raubkunstkunstwerke oder Werke, die die Nationalsozialisten als sog. Entartete Kunst" aus den Museen entfernen ließen, nicht herausgeben muss. Dieses Ergebnis erscheint vielen Menschen als falsch.

Eine Vereinbarung, die Cornelius Gurlitt im April kurz vor seinem Tod mit Bayern und dem Bund getroffen hat, sichert nun die weiteren Provenienzrecherchen und die Rückgabe von Raubkunstwerken an die rechtmäßigen Eigentümer auf der Basis der sog. Washingtoner Prinzipien von 1998 (s. www. lostart.de), ohne sich dabei auf formale Rechtspositionen wie Verjährung zu berufen. Die Washingtoner Erklärung" verpflichtet den Bund, die Länder und die Kommunen und damit die öffentlichen Museen, die Rückführung von Kunstwerken zu ermöglichen, die jüdischen Familien NS-verfolgungsbedingt abhanden gekommen waren.

Als Privatperson war Gurlitt hierzu nicht verpflichtet, da nach den geltenden Verjährungsregelungen der Herausgabeanspruch des Eigentümers aus § 985 BGB gegen den Besitzer einer Sache nach 30 Jahren verjährt (§ 197 Abs. 1 Nr. 2 BGB) unabhängig davon, ob die Sache dem Eigentümer abhanden gekommen ist und ohne Rücksicht darauf, ob der Besitzer der Sache bösgläubig ist. Der Protest gegen diese Rechtslage ist verbreitet, alt und berechtigt. Insoweit allerdings heute Politiker oder gar Mitglieder der Bundesregierung ihr Missfallen kundtun, grenzt das teilweise an Scheinheiligkeit. Denn der Gesetzgeber hat diese Verjährungsregelung auf Initiative der Bundesregierung noch im Jahr 2002 aufgenommen, obwohl man es besser wusste. Denn dass die neue Verjährungsregelung des § 197 BGB nur bösgläubige Besitzer schützt, da das BGB allen anderen lange vorher schon den gutgläubigen Erwerb von Eigentum an der betroffenen Sache ermöglicht, sei es durch Ersitzung (§ 937 BGB) oder gutgläubigen Erwerb (§ 932 BGB), darauf hatte bereits 2001 der Kunstrechtspezialist Kurt Siehr bei den Gesetzesberatungen ausdrücklich hingewiesen.

Eines wiederholt geforderten, deutschen Raubkunstgesetzes oder der geplanten Lex Gurlitt", die Besitzern von NS-Raubkunst die Berufung auf die Verjährung untersagen soll, bedarf es nicht. Bei NS-Raubkunstwerken in öffentlichen Sammlungen ist eine solche gesetzliche Regelung überflüssig, da sich diese angesichts der Washingtoner Erklärung" nicht auf Ver- jährung berufen können, bei privaten Sammlungen schlichtweg ungeeignet. Die Frage der NS-Raubkunst in Privatbesitz wäre damit nicht zu regeln. Denn kein einziger privater Restitutionsfall" gleicht dem anderen. Jeder Fall liegt anders. Eine Lösung kann daher nicht im Rahmen eines Gesetzes, sondern nur auf freiwilliger Basis und mit Vernunft und Sensibilität der Beteiligten" (Peter Raue) gefunden werden. Bereits heute sind Bilder mit NS-Raubkunstverdacht im seriösen Kunsthandel praktisch unverkäuflich. Dieser Makel lässt sich nur im Rahmen einer Einigung mit den rechtmäßigen Eigentümern beseitigen, etwa indem das Bild versteigert wird und der Verkaufserlös zwischen dem Besitzer und dem jüdischen Anspruchsteller geteilt wird, wobei berücksichtigt werden muss, welchen Kaufpreis der Besitzer bezahlt hat.

Testamentarisch hat Gurlitt das Berner Kunstmuseum als seinen Alleinerben eingesetzt; ob es das schwierige Erbe annimmt, muss es nun binnen eines halben Jahres entscheiden. Da die von Gurlitt getroffene Vereinbarung auch seine Erben bindet, wird die Taskforce Schwabinger Kunstfund" ihre begonnene Provenienzforschung der Sammlung fortsetzen. Dabei muss allen Beteiligten klar sein, dass Provenienzforschung keine Hobbyarchäologie" ist; mitunter offenbaren erst akribische Recherchen, dass ein Kunstwerk z.B. nacheinander mehrere jüdische Eigentümer hatte, die unter Zwang ihren Besitz aufgeben mussten. Viele der aus Sicht der Anspruchsteller eindeutigen Ansprüche sind damit plötzlich nicht mehr so klar, wie sie zunächst scheinen. Hier müssen der Weg des Kunstwerks von einer Hand in die andere und die Umstände des Besitzerwechsels genau erforscht werden, da jedes Kunstwerk nur einmal restituiert werden kann.

Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass die Expertise der Taskforce später in das von Monika Grütters geplante neue Nationale Zentrum Kulturgutverluste" einfließt. Restitutionen können keines der widerwärtigen Verbrechen der Nationalsozialisten ungeschehen machen und kein einziges Leben wiederbringen; sie können aber einen kleinen Beitrag dazu leisten, dass das von ihnen begangene Unrecht nicht weiter perpetuiert wird.

Ihr

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