Letters from the post office of the ukrainian City Kamenez Podolski 1941/42, in the exhibition "Inventarnummer 1938"

Inventory No. 1938

Provenance research at the Technisches Museum Wien

Cars, radios and instantaneous water heaters: The looting raids of the Nazis did not stop at objects of everyday life. Since 1998, the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Museum of Science and Technology) has been combing through its collection for items once looted by the Nazis and has been trying to track down their rightful owners.
The public debate over provenance research is dominated by questions surrounding the restitution of valuable works of art such as paintings and drawings. The fact that the Nazis stole predominantly objects of everyday life from those persecuted on “racial” or “political” grounds, such as radio sets and cameras, furniture, bicycles, musical instruments, linen, cars or motorcycles, is often overlooked. The collection of the Technisches Museum Wien, which has been collecting objects of everyday life since its establishment, has also been found to include objects that had formerly been in Jewish ownership. The exhibition shows the daily practice of Nazi raids, reconstructs the life stories of the victims and documents the search to trace the living heirs who are now scattered all over the world.
“Inventory No. 1938” is the first permanent exhibition of its kind on the subject of “provenance research” hosted by a museum in a German-speaking country and documents the Aryanisation of everyday objects around 1938. A database on vehicles looted by the Nazis gives visitors the opportunity to do some research themselves. A volume with the same title has been published in the publication series entitled “Edition TMW”.