Wollongong gallery pledges to ‘honestly represent’ benefactor’s Nazi past

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Wollongong Art Gallery has removed the sanction of 1 of its astir generous benefactors from its rooms aft discovering his past arsenic a Nazi collaborator.

But the determination New South Wales assembly has ruled retired selling oregon breaking up a postulation of 100 Australian artworks donated by Bronius “Bob” Sredersas successful 1978 that makes up the instauration of the gallery’s holdings.

Having escaped from Lithuania to Australia aft the war, Sredersas lived successful Wollongong and amassed a ample postulation including works by famed artists Margaret Olley, Pro Hart and Norman Lindsay. He died successful the aboriginal 1980s.

Guardian Australia archetypal reported connected Sredersas’ antecedently chartless past successful March.

The assemblage and section assembly were alerted to documents showing the celebrated donor was a Nazi collaborator successful Lithuania, and connected Wednesday the assembly met with the Sydney Jewish Museum to sermon however to woody with his past.

Research by the depository confirmed Sredersas served arsenic an quality serviceman for the Nazis portion Lithuania was nether German occupation, but helium was a insignificant subordinate successful the regime.

His relation successful the quality bureau known arsenic the Sicherheitsdienst, oregon SD, would person been to instrumentality Nazi policies, the probe found, but nary records beryllium to amusement helium was straight progressive successful the Holocaust oregon different acts of genocide.

Nevertheless, Wollongong politician Gordon Bradbery said Sredersas would person been alert of oregon complicit successful the Nazi elimination of the Jewish assemblage successful Lithuania.

“He would person been crossed immoderate of those SS warfare crimes and those liable for implementing the Nazi policies,” helium said.

A motion has been removed from the country of the assemblage dedicated to Sredersas, and commentary volition beryllium enactment up explaining the donor’s history.

None of the works helium donated are presently connected show and the assemblage volition see whether immoderate of them should beryllium utilized successful upcoming exhibitions.

However, Bradbery said the Jewish Museum had not asked the assembly to instrumentality down oregon disperse the collection.

“We’ve got custodianship of it, and we request to honestly correspond it and not resile from the disfigured past truths down it,” helium said.

The idiosyncratic past of the gallery’s donor was not the responsibility of the artists, Bradbery added.

“You’ve got to look astatine those pieces of creation for what they are, they’re important paintings and contributions to the past of Australian art.”

Bradbery said the acquisition of uncovering Srederas’s acheronian past was communal to galore taste institutions researching the provenance of their collections.

“We are radical who person travel from conflict, dislocation, trauma, and truthful on, immoderate of those stories are heroic stories, others item immoderate beauteous bittersweet and unethical parts,” helium said.

The assemblage volition besides update its online catalogue and website with accusation astir Srederas’s history.

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