Simon Goodman's grandparents came from German-Jewish banking dynasties and perished in concentration camps. His father rarely spoke of their family history or heritage. But when he passed away, and Simon received his father's old papers, a story began to emerge. The Gutmanns, as they were known then, rose from a small Bohemian hamlet to become one of Germany's most powerful banking families. They also amassed a magnificent, world-class art collection that included works by Degas, Renoir, Botticelli, Guardi, and many, many others. But the Nazi regime snatched from them everything they had worked to build: their remarkable art, their immense wealth, their prominent social standing, and their very lives. With the help of his family, Simon initiated the first Nazi looting case to be settled in the United States.
|Product dimensions:||6.04(w) x 5.04(h) x 1.13(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Born in London shortly after WWII and educated at the French Lycee in London, then at Munich University, Simon Goodman entered the music business in the late 1960s, specializing in breaking new British artists abroad. Goodman is married to the actress and teacher May Quigley and has one son and three daughters. He lives in Los Angeles where his search for his family's treasures continues.
Derek credits his Welsh-speaking grandfather with lighting a fire in him for the written and spoken word, Which has seen him performing in one way or another all his life. He has narrated over 60 audiobooks to date in a wide range of fiction and nonfiction genres. Outside of work, he likes to get as far away from his home studio as possible; he's a marathon runner.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read this brilliant book in one sitting. Profoundly moving, complex, terrifying and hopeful. Everything a book should be.
The Gutmann family were highly successful German Jews, who had founded the Dresdner Bank in the 19th century, and who owned an incomparable art collection. Then in the holocaust many members of this family were murdered, and their art and treasures were plundered to adorn the homes of Goering and Hitler et all. This book describes the search for and the recovery of this artwork, which took the efforts of two generations after the war. It appears that the art had also caught the eyes of post-war governments (like the Netherlands) who continued hiding it in their offices and embassies, shielding it behind questionable legalities and doing everything to put the legal heirs off the trail. Also complicit in the plunder were the great auction houses, museums world-wide, and various collectors who preferred to close an eye to the issue of provenance and the rightful ownership of the works in their possession. The author describes the gargantuan task to locate the individual paintings, sculptures, and other treasures, and the struggle of recovery which when successful at first would barely cover the cost involved in the legal process. But nonetheless the account of this book is a triumph. In the course of this battle, the author gets to know the family he lost, and they come to life for us with much love and affection in his descriptions. And through his efforts to undo some of the wrongs of the past, there is a gradual transformation of the attitudes of governments, museum boards, auction houses, and the odd individual collector, who increasingly are doing the right thing. This is a moving book and provides a great read.