In February 2012, in a Munich flat belonging to the elderly recluse, Cornelius Gurlitt, German customs authorities seized an astonishing hoard of more than 1,400 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures. When Hildebrand Gurlitt's trove became public in November 2013, it caused a worldwide media sensation.
Catherine Hickley has delved into archives and conducted dozens of interviews to uncover the story behind the headlines. Her book illuminates a dark period of German history, untangling a web of deceit and silence that has prevented the heirs of Jewish collectors from recovering art stolen from their families more than seven decades ago by the Nazis. Hickley recounts the shady history of the Gurlitt hoard and brings its story right up to date, as 21st-century politicians and lawyers puzzle over the inadequacies of a legal framework that to this day falls short in securing justice for the heirs of those robbed by the Nazis. Hickley is a leading voice in German arts and culture and an expert on Nazi-looted art and appeared on the Imagine documentary on Gurlitt in 2014.