Protester attacks Berlin exhibition of art 'bought with Nazi blood money'

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The Independent Online

Security will be tightened at a Berlin art show which is alleged to have been funded by Nazi "blood money" after a woman protester overwhelmed wardens and vandalised two works at the exhibition yesterday.

Organisers of the "Flick Collection" said the woman trampled on an exhibit called "Office Baroque", before turning over another work, "Graffiti Truck".

The exhibition, which was opened by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder last Tuesday, comprises more than 2,500 artworks collected by Friedrich Christian Flick, 59, grandson of the Nazi industrialist Friedrich Flick, who used 1,000 women slave labourers in his explosives factory at Stadtallendorf during the Second World War.

Klaus-Dieter Lehmann of the Prussian Cultural Foundation, which is organising the show, said: "We will have to order a review of security arrangements. The woman was so aggressive that the security staff were overwhelmed."

The exhibition contains works by renowned 20th-century artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Gerhard Richter and Kurt Schwitters and is scheduled to be open in Berlin for seven years. The decision to stage the show has infuriated Jewish groups in Germany. Salomon Korn, vice-president of Germany's Central Council of Jews, wrote to Mr Flick criticising the funding of the art collection. Mr Korn said: "The beautiful glow of your art collection, obtained with your grandfather's blood money, will only reflect the dark side of the Flick dynasty."

Critics of the "Flick Collection" have also complained that the art collector refused to makecompensation payments to Nazi slave labour victims. Groups representing the surviving workers from the factory demonstrated during the opening of the show and posters offering "free entry for slave labourers" were displayed outside.

Mr Flick said: "I don't believe you can inherit guilt. I believe you can inherit responsibility."

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