This permanent exhibition illustrates the effects that the National Socialist era had and continues to have on the Kunsthalle Mannheim, its collection, and the people connected to the museum. There is a focus on the permanent loss of over five hundred works suffered by the museum due to the confiscation of “degenerate art” in 1937. But it is also clear that the Kunsthalle Mannheim should not only be seen as a victim. The exhibition's “culturally Bolshevist images” direct attention to the propaganda exhibition mounted by the Kunsthalle Mannheim in 1933, at the beginning of the National Socialists' smear campaign against the modern avant-garde. A second topic demonstrates how directly and brutally National Socialism protruded into the lives of many people who were connected to the Kunsthalle Mannheim. The life stories of five Jewish families from Mannheim will be sketched. They were all museum donors, contributing to the development and expansion of the Mannheim collection, and remained connected to the museum after 1945, despite their flight and expulsion.
Incorporating findings from the provenance research currently being carried out by the Kunsthalle Mannheim, the exhibition addresses the museum's efforts to uncover injustices committed at the hands of the National Socialists, and to right these wrongs where possible. The visitors can learn about the complicated search for so-called “Nazi looted art” among the Mannheim collection.
The provenance research section is supported by the German Lost Art Foundation.