Zentrum für verfolgte Künste (im Kunstmuseum Solingen) © Zentrum für verfolgte Künste / Judith Schönwiesner

From Idea to Realization

The Emergence of the Center


With the inauguration of the Center for Persecuted Arts on December 8, 2015, extensive planning and creativity came to a happy end. During the ceremony, the President of the Bundestag, the second highest representative of our state, formally and officially opened the center.

In 1996, the founding of the Solingen Art Museum was impossible without private involvement. Germany’s first Limited Museum, a pilot project that still exists today. The project allowed lower costs and brought in a higher revenue than in a public operation. Thus, the first art museum in Solingen was originated.

In 1997, Director of the Solingen Art Museum, Dr. Rolf Jessewitsch was determined to show works from Gerhard Schneider’s collection and pushed for a loan agreement. Jessewitsch focused on defamed and marginalized artists’ works deemed “degenerate” by the Nazi dictatorship. In 1945, almost all artists and writers involved were caught off-guard with the idea of a reintroduction and rediscovery of their forbidden works. This encounter between Dr. Jessewitsch and the collector Dr.Schneider created the foundation for the “Center of Persecuted Arts’. In 1999, a number of people sparked interest this exhibition, in Germany and abroad, and in Solingen Art Museum the exhibition remained.


En Route to the Center


In December 2004, our museum director turned to Cultural Minister, Gerd Schönfeld, in the Regional Association of Rhineland (LVR) for help. The request for assistance reached the former Solingen Mayor, Bernd Passmann the LVR in Cologne. Schönfeld negotiated a coalition agreement in support of the project with Solingen, making a motion to provide the community foundation with assets of two million euros.

In 2007, Jürgen Serke acquired the Else Lasker-Schüler Foundation literature collection with approximately 2,500 works that were formerly banned, burned or exiled. The literature collection was initially given to the museum as a permanent loan. Since 2008, this collection entitled “Heaven and Hell between 1914 and 1989′, curated by Jürgen Kaumkötter, has been on display.

The Foundation for Persecuted Arts and the Else Lasker-Schüler Foundation merged in 2014, becoming the Community Foundation for Persecuted Arts – Else Lasker-Schüler-center – Art collection Gerhard Schneider. The purpose of the new foundation is to make their art and literature collections accessible at the Center for Persecuted Arts for research and study. The center itself was registered on February 9, 2015 as a non-profit, operating establishment.


Our partners include two-thirds of the Rhineland Regional Council (LVR) and one third the investment company of Solingen (BSG), a subsidiary of the city of Solingen.
The Center for Persecuted Arts Ltd. is supported by the LVR network Cultural Heritage.