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5.9.03

J. Paul Getty and Hitler

Are all 20th-century art collectors eccentric? The bizarre decisions of Albert Barnes are on the brink of accomplishing a tragic end to his remarkable collection (see the latest news on the fate of the Barnes Foundation summarized in Modern Art Notes on September 4). Now there is the revelation from recently declassified documents in the British National Archives that J. Paul Getty not only knew and admired Adolf Hitler but was supplying the Nazi army with oil up to 5 months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This story was broken in The Telegraph (Getty Helped Traitors Sell Oil to Hitler by Peter Day, August 25) and then carried by Deutsche Welle (Oil Baron Getty Revealed as Hitler Fan, September 2), which is where I first heard of it. How much did hopes to purchase stolen art treasures at rock-bottom prices tempt Getty into this shameful complicity?

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