Artifacts of the Holocaust

Luke Preston 1st period.


During Hitlers and the Nazis rise to power, a big part of their conquest was stealing artwork from the Jews. The Germans had many reasons for stealing the artwork. The first and the biggest was for money. They would steal the artwork from the Jews and sell it for money. They would also steal the art and burn it to discourage the Jews. The final reason for stealing the artwork was simply because Hitler enjoyed it. He had a hobby of painting and wanted to have artwork. All of this caused for some very hard times for the Jews.The artwork that was stolen includes many pieces by Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo, and Johannes Vermeer. All of these were famous painters and sculptors who made artwork in the 1600's and 1700's. All of this was a very important part of history and still is important because the Germans stole millions of dollars worth of art. Now, in many countries, laws are in place to protect and return the stolen artwork. There are many other artifacts, like journals, music, and poems, from the Holocaust. Lots of these have been recovered and help people to understand what kind of things the people had to endure.

Music and the Holocaust

Music played a very important role during the Holocaust. People that supported the Germans and people that were against the Germans enjoyed music. The Nazis would listen to more elevated and upbeat style music to keep people as happy as they could be. Marches and stylistic pieces were the most common type of music because it kept people encouraged and somewhat happy. The people in the concentration camps wrote lots of music, but hardly ever heard it. The music that the people wrote in the concentration camps would often portray their feelings for the war to come to an end and their hope of survival. A select few musicians would be chosen to write for the Germans, if they would. A song written during the Holocaust has been attached below. It was one of the more famous pieces written that prisoners would sing.

Die Moorsoldaten

The audio video below is a song called "Die Moorsoldaten." In English this means "Soldiers of the Moor." This was a song sang by the prisoners usually when they were marching to the moor. A moor is just a field that the prisoners had to work on.

Holocaust Act 2009

On the 26th of January, a new bill was introduced to the House of Commons (the lower house in the Parliament of Great Britain). This bill, known as the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Bill, gives the national institutions listed within it the right to confiscate stolen artwork and return it to its owners. Before that can happen though, two things must occur. First, the Advisory Panel must suggest the transfer of the artwork. Then, the Secretary of State must approve the transfer. The bill was only made to last for 10 years though, so in 2019, the bill will expire.

Facts and Other Information

  1. Hitler loved to paint in his spare time and enjoyed different types of art from all different painters and sculptors.
  2. Music played a huge part in the Holocaust by being featured at rallies and public events and by keeping people occupied during their free time.
  3. Between 1933 and 1945, Hitler stole over 750,000 pieces of artwork.
  4. Hitler was actually denied, on two separate occasions, admission to an Academy of Art
  5. Although many pieces of artwork was recaptured shortly after World War II, thousands of pieces of art were not and still remain unaccounted for today.


The actions of Hitler during his reign are unimaginable and we can not do anything about them. We can however, try and get as much of the artwork he stole back to its owners. Now, governments are working to do just that. Nevertheless, the people and artwork that were taken and harmed will never be forgotten.

Other Sources

This website is wonderful for explaining all the different types of music during the Holocaust. This is one of the websites I got lots of my information from and all of it links check out, so it pretty legitimate. This website also provides lots of information about people and composers from the Holocaust.

This is another great website/online database. It has lots of information about the stolen artwork and actions of governments to recover it. This website also has lots of information about Jewish people themselves. This was my first website I used and help me a lot in making this project.


Aalders, Gerald. "Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009." 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2016. <http://wV515471_print;>.

Gilbert, Shirli. "Music and the Holocaust." : Home. 2005. Web. 02 Feb. 2016. <>.

Haugen, Brenda. "We Remember." The Holocaust Museum. Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point, 2008. 6-7. Print.

Johnson, Bryan. "Top 10 Famous Pieces of Art Stolen by the Nazis -" 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 25 Jan. 2016. <>.

Levine, Jason. "Holocaust Restitution: Recovering Stolen Art." Jewish Virtual Library. Associated Press, Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2016. <>.

The National Archives. "Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009." 2009. Web. 29 Jan. 2016. <>.

PoemHunter.Com - About Us. Thousands of Poems and Poets. "PoemHunter.Com - About Us. Thousands of Poems and Poets." Nov. 2014. Web. 25 Jan. 2016. <>.

Szyk, Arthur. Tears of Rage. Digital image. USHMM. Web. 29 Jan. 2016. <>.

USHMM. "Songs of the Ghettos, Concentration Camps, and World War II Partisan Outposts." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 1 Feb. 2016. <>.

USHMM. "We Were Never Die, Program Cover, 1943." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 29 Jan. 2016. <>.