The passionate, gripping true story of one man's single-minded quest to reclaim what the Nazis stole from his family -- their beloved art collection -- and to restore their legacy.
Simon Goodman's grandparents came from German-Jewish banking dynasties, and perished in concentration camps. That's almost all he knew about them -- his father rarely spoke of their family history or heritage. But when he passed away, and Simon received his father's old papers, a story began to emerge.
The Gutmanns rose from a small Bohemian hamlet to become one of Germany's most powerful banking families. They also amassed a magnificent, world-class art collection that included works by Degas, Renoir, Botticelli, Guardi, and many, many others. But the Nazi regime snatched from them everything they had worked to build: their remarkable art, their immense wealth, their prominent social standing, and their very lives.
Simon grew up in London with little knowledge of his father's efforts to recover their family's prized possessions. It was only after his father's death that Simon began to piece together the clues about the Gutmanns' stolen legacy and the Nazi looting machine. Through painstaking detective work across two continents, Simon has been able to prove that many works belonged to his family, and to successfully secure their return.
Goodman's dramatic story, told with great heart, reveals a rich family history almost obliterated by the Nazis. It is not only the account of a twenty-year long detective hunt for family treasure, but an unforgettable tale of redemption and restoration.
PRAISE FOR SIMON GOODMAN
'Simon Goodman has forensically pieced together what happened to his grandparents and their art collection after they were forced to sign it away to Hitler and Goering's art poachers ... The Orpheus Clockis not only a meticulously researched history of the Gutmann family, but a compelling detective story.' The Daily Mail
'An extraordinary tale of the rise and fall of a German Jewish banking family ... Anyone who has seen the film Woman in Gold, about Maria Altmann's similar struggle to find looted family art, will have a good idea of where this book is heading from chapter one. Still, this story of how a stubborn man took on the cultural bureaucrats and their culture of amnesia has its own twists and deserves to be told.' The Independent