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Art Theft

Readers of AAD know of our research into the story of the Stasi, a rapacious secret police of the defunct East German regime whose manipulation of the art trade at the expense of its law abiding citizens was used to further the dark aims of a darker regime. The images seen below are the result of a number of trips to Berlin over the past year, and serve as advanced notice of what is to come in the Fall.

At the top is a floor plan from a promotional brochure for the Stasi Art warehouse in Mühlenbeck, conveniently near the Iron Curtain on the northern outskirts of Berlin. Below that are a selection of period photographs taken of the inside of that particular warehouse. The Mühlenbeck warehouse was the head office of Kunst und Antiquitäten GmbH, the Art dealing arm of the Stasi’s umbrella commercial enterprise, called Commercial Co-ordination, (KoKo for short). At the Kunst und Antiquitäten Mühlenbeck warehouse, Art and Antiques were sold and exported to dealers and auction houses in the west - names as of yet unknown - with the profits flowing through to KoKo. Kunst und Antiquitäten was established in 1973, and ran as a commercial enterprise through to 1990.

The extremely thorough records of such an enterprise constitute a rare insight to the thought process of a criminal enterprise on a macroeconomic scale. The activities of KoKo (established in 1964) were, primarily, to generate foreign exchange, by bypassing the official legal ways of foreign trade. Independent sources of western hard currency in the Stasi's hands could be used to finance off the books operations in the west since anyone in East Germany would be forced to accept the local DDR marks. Serving as the blueprint for this operation was the (now deceased) art plunderer Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski and his doctoral thesis, which describes various methods of economic crime.

Methods employed included espionage, treasonous acts, human trafficking, sabotage and acts of sabotage, terror, acts of significant violence, political and ideological diversion and operational acts of smuggling, amongst other methods. Profits from Kunst und Antiquitäten flowed through to KoKo, and then directly to the SED or the Stasi, serving mainly to finance the afore-mentioned secret operations.

For latter day Westerners too naive to believe such intrigue would be committed to paper, the last photo shows in the original German text, the strategic types of operations that the Stasi would finance with the KoKo cash flow.

Alex Boyle & Elliot Lee - Chief Editor / CEO AAD

 First published - 15.8.2015

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You may also like to read:

* Response By UEFA Regarding PICASSO & The Garcia Report, Beg For Deeper Investigation

* Nine FIFA Officials and Five Corporate Executives Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy and Corruption

* Arab Women Of The Year Awards 2015

* The Master of Fear

* Bad Guys Bedevil The Art Market

 TERROR123

Screen Shot 2015 12 26 at 16.45.05

You may also like to read:

* Response By UEFA Regarding PICASSO & The Garcia Report, Beg For Deeper Investigation

* Nine FIFA Officials and Five Corporate Executives Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy and Corruption

* Arab Women Of The Year Awards 2015

* The Master of Fear

* Bad Guys Bedevil The Art Market

About the Author

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