Paul Julius Hartog, born on March 20, 1868 in Goch, Germany , was an internationally respected banker, his praise of American business during a 1909 trip to the United States made the New York Times. By 1917, Hartog founded and owned his own bank in Berlin. Hartog collected 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings while his wife, Gertrude Hartog geb. Katz, collected antique furniture.
Hartog’s art collection consisted of thirty-one paintings, nineteen of which he was forced to sell at auction at a significant loss in 1934 and 1938. Concern with the situation in Germany, Hartog sent his daughter Marianne (born in 1921) to London with a photo of her mother, a small Aubusson carpet, and an album with pictures of her home and her father’s art collection.
In 1939, homesick Marianne returned to Berlin to visit her parents. Suspicious British authorities imprisoned her as an enemy alien when she returned to London. In 1940, she transferred to a POW camp on the Isle of Man and stayed for two years. Upon her release she joined the British army and trained as an interpreter.
Twelve paintings remained in his possession until his arrest by the Gestapo in 1942 and deportation to Theresienstadt, where he perished in 1943.
After the war, Marianne went to Berlin with the British army. Her former home was bombed out and shattered. Later, she worked for the United States Army Criminal Investigation Department where she met her American husband.