Max Rothstein, a decorated Jewish veteran of World War I and a successful banker, lived in prewar Berlin in an apartment on Lützowplatz where he owned a significant collection of paintings, antique ivory figures, and Persian rugs.
The persecution of Max Rothstein in Germany began not long after the NSDAP’s rise to power in 1933 when the Rothstein family was forced to move from their home Lützowplatz 12, Berlin to a new residence on Holsteiner Ufer 17, Berlin. Over the course of the four years following this relocation, Max Rothstein suffered dramatic reductions in his annual earnings, culminating in December 1937 when he was forced to withdraw from his position as co-proprietor of Willy Rosenthal Jr. & Co. The company was subsequently closed in May 1938. It was this very persecution that forced the Rothstein family to flee from Germany and reestablish themselves in Amsterdam in 1938.
In Holland the Rothstein family lived at Euterpestraat 26, Amsterdam, and Mr. Rothstein took up a champagne import business. In 1939 in an effort to raise funds, Mr. Rothstein began selling pieces from his art collection. To facilitate these sales, Mr. Rothstein consigned several pieces to Dr. Albert Heppner, a well-known Jewish art dealer in Amsterdam. Dr. Heppner contracted with Christie’s in London and in February 1939 listed several of Mr. Rothstein’s works of art for auction. Not all items sold; those that remained unsold were returned to Mr. Rothstein in Amsterdam.
After the Nazi occupation of Holland, the Rothstein family had to flee from their home a second time. Mr. Rothstein once again was forced to sell some of his art collection and called upon Dr. Heppner to aid with these transactions. Other family possessions were crated and stored at H. Hoogewerff Jr. & Co. including several paintings by Dutch masters. The Rothstein family left Amsterdam and immigrated in 1941 to the United States via Cuba. The items stored at Hoogewerff and intended for export never arrived to their home in the US. Mr. Rothstein fell ill and passed away in 1950.
The Rothstein Collection and the HCPO
The HCPO discovered the Rothstein's missing Ruysdael on the Origins Unknown website, which lists the provenance of artworks in the Nederlands Kunstbezit-collectie (NK Collection). The NK Collection consists of approximately 4,500 objects that the Netherlands recuperated primarily from Germany at the end of World War II, which have remained in the Dutch government's custody because the original owners could not be identified and/or located.
"Wooded Landscape with Herd Near a Pond"
Marianne Barbanell née Rothstein