AOn Friday evening, the last item on the agenda in the Saxon state parliament was a motion by the left to promote the Green Vault. The parliamentary group demanded an interim balance and consequences from the spectacular art theft that had caused such a stir three years ago.
Faction leader Rico Gebhardt complained about “a strange silence in the state government and in the state art collections”, stated a “collective escape from responsibility” and called for “putting the cards on the table”. What conclusions does the government draw from the “biggest art theft in German post-war history”? What is being done to protect Saxony’s museums in the future? Gebhardt is by far the most zealous MP on this topic; He has already made 21 small inquiries to the government and thus shed some light on the matter.
The government factions of the CDU, Greens and SPD explained in the debate that such a slump should not be repeated, but that the request from the left was excessive. Art thefts also happen internationally, and a return of the stolen objects cannot be completely ruled out; there are also many historical examples of this.
Finding the loot in Berlin
Of course, the deputies had no idea that at that time investigators from Saxony were already on their way to Berlin on a matter that spread like wildfire in Dresden early on Saturday afternoon: the special commission “Epaulette”, which had been working for three years with dozens of members of staff in determined the case, has secured a large part of the loot from the Green Vault in Berlin.
That was, to put it mildly, sensational news that was hard to believe at first. Many art theft experts believed the objects had long been dismantled and sold on the black market. For three years there had been plenty of evidence but not the slightest trace of the loot. Because the fact that the thieves could not have been concerned with the jewelry as a whole, but only with the diamonds, was suggested by their actions, which were recorded by surveillance cameras: In great haste, they tore the jewels out of the previously destroyed showcases, causing several objects to break. Silver settings broke, diamonds fell to the ground, parts got stuck on the velvet-lined display case floors – also because the objects were attached with fishing line, which the perpetrators apparently had not expected.
And now this. “Dresden public prosecutor’s office, Soko Epaulette and the LKA Sachsen secured a significant part of the stolen property during the break-in into the Green Vault in Berlin on the night of December 16th to 17th,” the authorities said. After an initial inspection, there were 31 individual pieces, which also included complete pieces of jewelry such as the heron tail, a kind of hat decoration, and the breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle from the diamond set. On the other hand, two of the most precious pieces were missing, namely the epaulette that was damaged during the burglary, a kind of shoulder piece with the famous “Saxon White”, a diamond weighing 50 carats, and the large breast bow of Queen Amalia Auguste, set with almost 700 diamonds.
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