Czeczowiczka, Caroline

Caroline Czeczowiczka

Buchillustrationen aus dem Spätmittelalter

14 March 1896 Vienna – 8 November 1979 London

née Caroline Reitlinger

Caroline Reitlinger studied medicine at the University of Vienna for seven semesters from 1916. In July 1919 she married Edwin Czeczowiczka, an engineer and co-owner of the Erste galizische mechanische Baumwollweberei in Andrychów, Poland. He collected drawings and had a long-standing arrangement with the art dealer Gustav Nebehay. In the early 1920s the couple added over 150 fifteenth- to nineteenth-century drawings to their collection, including works by Jan van Eyck, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Raphael, Urs Graf the Elder , Peter Brueghel the Elder, Jan van Goyen, Rembrandt and Albert Cuyp. Following the economic downturn in the late 1920s, Edwin Czeczowiczka found himself in financial difficulties, and the couple decided to sell some of their collection. On 12 May 1930, 164 drawings were auctioned by C. G. Boerner and Paul Graupe in Leipzig and 24 miniature book illustrations, 7 paintings, 16 sculptures, 6 Italian medals and 17 applied art works by Hermann Ball & Paul Graupe in Berlin. Practically all of the lots being sold, but Caroline Czeczowiczka managed to re-acquire two Gothic watercolour miniature book illustrations from the auction through Gustav Nebehay.

In 1938, even before the Vienna city authorities decided on 29 October to "secure" 22 of the around 70 artworks in the collection at the couple's home at Uraniastraße 2 in Vienna's 1st district to prevent them from being taken abroad, Caroline Czeczowiczka, a Polish citizen persecuted on account of her Jewish origins, had taken flight. With her husband and three children, she stayed temporarily in Andrychów. From there she tried in November 1938 to have the "secured" items released. On 4 July 1939, the Vienna city authorities released 11 works of little value, and the Central Monument Protection Authority approved their export, which did not, however, take place until 1947. The remaining 11 "secured" objects, along with the sheets by Ludwig Richter and Moriz von Schwind and the marriage certificate of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which were on the Reich list of valuable national artworks, remained in Vienna and were to be offered for sale to public collections. Caroline Czeczowiczka commissioned Christian M. Nebehay to handle the sales. Without regard for the "Führerbehalt" (Führer reserve), in force from 18 June 1938 and giving Hitler priority access to expropriated art collections, Nebehay sold two sheets by Richter and one by von Schwind to the Albertina in October 1939. A further sheet by von Schwind was acquired by Hans Posse in 1940 for the Kunstmuseum Linz, and in February 1940, with the approval of State Commissar for Education, Culture and Popular Education Friedrich Plattner, Nebehay sold Mozart's marriage certificate to the National Library. After the promulgation on 17 September 1940 of the Regulation of the Management of the Assets of Members of the Former Polish State, the Gestapo seized the 50 or so art objects, furniture, carpets, silver objects, antique books and textiles stored since 1938 by Spedition Fall in Makartgasse in Vienna's 1st district and sold them in the Dorotheum through the Vugesta, the Gestapo Office for the Disposal of the Property of Jewish Emigrants.

In 1945, directly after the end of the war, Theodore C. Cheston wrote on behalf of his mother Caroline Czeczowiczka, now living in London, to Alfred Stix, Director General of the State Art Collections in Vienna, requesting him to investigate the whereabouts of the dispersed collection. In November 1947, the three sheets from the Albertina were returned to Caroline Czeczowiczka against payment of the purchase price. Otto Benesch, director of the Albertina, refused to return the Salzburg miniatures, which the Albertina had obtained in summer 1948 from Galerie Neumann on Kohlmarkt in Vienna's 1st district in an exchange, stating that they had been acquired in good faith. During the 1950s, Caroline Czeczowiczka litigated without success against the Republic of Austria, although two Chinese tomb figures were returned in January 1959 from the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna. As late as 1989, Gerhard Seiler, president of the Federal Monuments Authority, insisted that the miniatures had been obtained in good faith. It was not until the adoption of the Austrian Art Restitution Act that the Salzburg miniature book illustrations and a drawing were returned from the Albertina to the successors of Caroline Czeczowiczka.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Beiratsbeschluss Caroline Czeczowiczka, 18.8.1999, URL: (18.10.2021).

Gabriele Anderl/Alexandra Caruso (Hg.), NS-Kunstraub in Österreich und die Folgen, Innsbruck-Wien-Bozen 2005.

Alexandra Caruso (Hg.), Erica Tietze-Conrat, Tagebücher (1923–1926), Band I: Der Wiener Vasari, Wien-Köln-Weimar 2015.

Julila Eßl, Die Sammlung Feldmann: Spuren – Fragmente – Dokumente. Weg einer Rekonstruktion, in: Achim Gnann/Heinz Schödl (Hg.), Spurensuche, Die Sammlung Arthur Feldmann und die Albertina (= Schriftenreihe der Kommission für Provenienzforschung Sonderband), Wien 2015, URL:

Sophie Lillie, Was einmal war. Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens (= Bibliothek des Raubes 8), Wien 2003.

N. N., Eine Wiener Sammlung in Berlin, in: Internationale Sammlerzeitung 22 (1930) 11, 124f, URL: (18.10.2021).
N. N., Eine Wiener Sammlung in Berlin, in: Internationale Sammlerzeitung 22 (1930) 12, 143f, URL: (18.10.2021).
N. N., Eine Wiener Sammlung in Berlin, in: Internationale Sammlerzeitung 22 (1930) 13, 154f, URL: (18.10.2021).

Christian M. Nebehay, Die goldenen Sessel meines Vaters. Gustav Nebehay (1881–1935), Antiquar und Kunsthändler in Leipzig, Wien und Berlin, Wien 1983.

Birgit Schwarz, Auf Befehl des Führers. Hitler und der NS-Kunstraub, Darmstadt 2014.


BDA-Archiv, Restituttionsmaterialien, K. 8/1, M. 11, Ursprungsverzeichnis Caroline Czeczowiczka.
BDA-Archiv, Restitutionsmaterialien, K. 33, PM Caroline Czeczowiczka.
BDA-Archiv, Ausfuhrmaterialien, Zl. 5042/1939 Mariella Czeczowiczka.

OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, VA 14610, Caroline Czeczowiczka.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, VA 13886, Edwin Czeczowiczka.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, Vugesta, Bd. 3, Zl. 1570, Caroline Czeczowiczka.

UAW, Nationale der Medizinstudentinnen, Caroline Reitlinger.

WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Edwin Czeczowiczka.
WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Caroline Reitlinger.