Pächter, Adele

Adele Pächter


14 February 1857 Hamburg – 7 February 1943 Theresienstadt ghetto / Terezín

née Adele Elkan


Adele Pächter was married to Hermann Pächter (1839–1902), who in the 1880s ran Kunsthandlung R. Wagner in Berlin. He had made a name for himself as agent for Adolph von Menzel and in 1895 also briefly took Max Liebermann under contract. Pächter himself was an enthusiastic art collector with a collection that included East Asian items, precious stones, Persian carpets, paintings by French Impressionists and, in particular, works by Menzel, who was a very close friend. He had business relations with the Berlin Nationalgalerie under its director Max Jordan. Adele and Hermann Pächter lived with three children – Eva (born 1886), Kurt (born 1887) and Sonia (born 1891) – in a villa at Genthiner Straße 13G (later Woyrischstraße 30G) in the Tiergarten district of Berlin. After Hermann Pächter's unexpected death in 1902, Adele Pächter, whom he had designated as sole heir, subsequently loaned works by Menzel, for example for the commemorative exhibition in the Nationalgalerie organized by Hugo von Tschudi in 1905, then over twenty years later, in April 1928 at Galerie Thannhauser and in 1932 at Galerie Caspari in Munich.

During the Nazi era, Adele Pächter and her children Kurt and Sonia were considered Jewish. The oldest daughter Eva, married to the painter Fritz Mühsam (1881–1946), had committed suicide in 1924. Sonia married the captain Bruno Schellong in 1912 and had two daughters. Two years after the Nazis came to power in Germany, the first picture from the Pächter collection was put up for sale in the "Jewish auction", as it was called, at Galerie Paul Graupe in Berlin. This was followed in 1940 by the auction of a number of other works by Graupe's successor Hans W. Lange. In the catalogue, the owner was given as "Sch., Dahlem", presumably referring to Adele Pächter's "Aryan" son-in-law Bruno Schellong, who lived with his family in Berlin-Dahlem. Apart from artworks from her deceased husband's collection, Adele Pächter, who had had a high Jewish Asset Levy imposed on her, had gradually to sell furniture and household items to pay her living expenses, until she was ultimately forced to abandon her home altogether. After eighteen months in a home in Berlin-Zehlendorf, Adele and Kurt Pächter were transferred by the Gestapo on 25 September 1942 to the collective apartment at Große Hamburger Straße 26 in Berlin, from where they were deported on 3 October 1942 on the third "large old persons' transport" to Theresienstadt. Adele Pächter died there on 7 February 1943, Kurt Pächter shortly afterwards on 23 March 1943. Because of her marriage, Sonia Schellong escaped this fate, but her husband had applied for retirement as head of the Nautical Department of the Navy Command in Berlin so as to avoid being dismissed or forced to retire for being in a proscribed "Mischehe" (mixed marriage).

On 13 February 1948 Kurt and Adele Pächter were declared dead by Zehlendorf Amtsgericht (local court). In November of that year, the Schellong family emigrated to the USA, where their daughter was already living. In 1965 Sonia Schellong, as her mother's heir, received DM 5,000 as compensation for the "loss as a result of the sale at rock-bottom prices of valuable paintings and art objects from the renowned Berlin Pächter art dealer family". On 7 March 2014, the Austrian Art Restitution Advisory Board recommended the restitution of the Menzel drawing Armoury Fantasy from the Albertina to the legal successors of the late Adele Pächter. The gouache is thought to have been purchased by the officer Wilhelm Diehn from Götschendorf, owner of Herman Göring's future guesthouse, at an auction by Hans W. Lange in 1940 and offered again for sale by Lange eighteen months later. This time it was bought by Hans Posse, Hitler's special representative, who earmarked it for the never completed Linz Kunstmuseum. It was taken first to Dresden, then in February 1943 to Kremsmünster and finally to Altaussee. Via the Bundesdenkmalamt (Federal Monuments Authority) depot it was assigned in 1963 to the Albertina as "forfeited" with origin "unknown".

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Adele Pächter, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Paechter_Adele_2014-03-07.pdf (3.12.2020).

Paul Graupe (Hg.), Gemälde und Zeichnungen des 19. Jahrhunderts aus einer bekannten schlesischen Privatsammlung und aus verschiedenem Privatbesitz, Versteigerung 141, Versteigerung 23. März 1935, Berlin 1935, URL: doi.org/10.11588/diglit.5634.

Hans W. Lange (Hg.), Sammlung Wolfgang Zorer, Berlin, verschiedener Kunstbesitz: Gemälde alter und neuerer Meister, Möbel des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts, Silber, Majoliken, chinesisches und europäisches Porzellan, Teppiche, Gemälde und Miniaturen mit Bildnissen Friedrichs des Großen, Versteigerung am 5. und 6. April 1940, Berlin 1940, URL: doi.org/10.11588/diglit.5837.


BArchiv Koblenz, B 323/52, Karteikarte, Treuhandverwaltung von Kulturgut München, fol. 272 u. 273.
BArchiv Koblenz, B 323/138, Korrespondenz Hans Posse – Hans W. Lange, Sept./Okt. 1941.

holocaust.cz, Todesfallanzeige Adele Pächter, Ghetto Theresienstadt, URL: www.holocaust.cz/de/datenbank-der-digitalisierten-dokumenten/dokument/94234-paechter-adele-todesfallanzeige-ghetto-theresienstadt/ (3.12.2020).

Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten, Abt. I – Entschädigungsbehörde, Entschädigungsakte nach Adele Pächter, Reg.Nr. 71.111.
Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten, Abt. I – Entschädigungsbehörde, Entschädigungsakte nach Bruno Schellong, Reg.Nr. 271.184.

Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 025-03, Nr. 31 Wiedergutmachtungsakte 97/63, Adele Pächter.
Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 021, Historische Einwohnermeldekartei, Bruno und Sonia Schellong.

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Zentralarchiv, I/NG 1789.