Restitution to the Jacques Rosenthal family

Münchner Stadtmuseum Restitutes a Late-Medieval Figure of an Apostle


The Münchner Stadtmuseum restituted a late medieval figure of an apostle to the heirs of Munich antiquarian Jacques Rosenthal (1854–1937). Research by the Münchner Stadtmuseum in cooperation with colleagues at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Central Institute for Art History) has determined that the artwork had been seized from Jacques Rosenthal in 1938 as a result of Nazi persecution. The restitution is based on the "Washington Principles", endorsed by the City of Munich. These principles oblige museums and collections to review their inventories to identify Nazi-confiscated art and return it to its rightful owners or their descendants, when these can be identified, and to find a "just and fair solution."

The Münchner Stadtmuseum acquired the apostle figure on December 2, 1938, at an auction at Adolf Weinmüller, a Munich auction house specialized in the fine arts. The apostle was identified in the auction catalog by the consignor’s abbreviation "R. in M.". Studies have now revealed that the sculpture had previously been owned by Munich-based antiquarian bookseller Jacques Rosenthal, who had been persecuted for being Jewish.

Jacques Rosenthal came from an internationally renowned dynasty of Jewish antiquarians specialized in art and rare books. Collectors, dealers, and librarians numbered among his clientele, which even included King Ludwig II; Rosenthal’s business success was reflected, among other things, in his construction of an imposing residential and commercial building on 47 Brienner Strasse (today No. 26). Since the 1910s, his son Erwin Rosenthal (1889–1981) had helped him run the firm. When the National Socialist regime seized power in 1933, the Rosenthal family faced antisemitic attacks and their business suffered badly. In July 1935, they were forced to sell their home and commercial premises to the German Labor Front. This was followed, shortly afterwards, by exclusion from the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts, which was tantamount to a ban on them exercising their profession. They were ordered to close their business and given four weeks to sell off the stock.

As a result, Erwin Rosenthal sold the antiquarian bookstore to employee Hans Koch and emigrated to Florence in March 1936. His parents Jacques and Emma Rosenthal moved into Munich’s Palast-Hotel Regina, where Jacques Rosenthal died in October 1937. Between 1936 and 1938, much of their art collection was put up for sale through art dealer Julius Böhler and the Adolf Weinmüller auction house. Among the items sold was the apostle figure now subject to restitution, which the Münchner Stadtmuseum bought from Weinmüller in September 1938.

Thanks to the expertise of colleagues working on the "Reconstruction of the Private Art Collection of Jacques, Emma and Erwin Rosenthal" research project at the Central Institute for Art History, it has been established that the apostle had clearly been confiscated as a result of Nazi persecution. Through the mediation of the Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HCPO) in New York, an open dialog was established with the heirs of the Rosenthal family. The Münchner Stadtmuseum has agreed to restitute and subsequently repurchase the sculpture, thus implementing a "just and fair solution" as stipulated in the "Washington Principles". Complete funding for buying the sculpture back was generously provided by the Friends of Münchner Stadtmuseum e.V.

Plan Your Visit

Opening hours

Although the Münchner Stadtmuseum's exhibitions closed on January 8, 2024, for a complete renovation, the cinema and the Stadtcafé will remain open to visitors until June 2027.

Information to Von Parish Costume Library in Nymphenburg

Filmmuseum München – Screenings
Tuesday / Wednesday 6.30 pm and 9 pm
Thursday 7 pm
Friday / Saturday 6 pm and 9 pm
Sunday 6 pm

Getting here

S/U-Bahn station: Marienplatz
U-Bahn station: Sendlinger Tor
Bus 52/62 stop: St.-Jakobs-Platz


St.-Jakobs-Platz 1
80331 München
Phone +49-(0)89-233-22370
Fax +49-(0)89-233-25033
E-Mail stadtmuseum(at)
E-Mail filmmuseum(at)

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