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7 Art Fraud in Germany: Lessons Learned or the Fast Falling into Oblivion?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter gives an overview of a significant number of German art fraud cases throughout history. It discusses the most popular cases in more depth to determine why they received such prominent public attention. The two most popular cases are the rather recent Beltracchi Case and the 1980s scandal of Hitler's forged diaries. The question is what makes such cases appear and reappear in the media and whether this has in any way influenced the art market (buyers, experts, galleries, museums, etc.) or the criminal justice system in its approach to preventing, detecting, investigating, and prosecuting art fraud. The chapter concludes by providing a discussion of the "popular" and "forgotten" cases in comparative perspective to determine how the portrayal in the media and ensuing public attention can potentially help or hinder the fight against art fraud.

Keywords: Beltracchi case; criminal justice system; German art fraud; Hitler's forged diaries



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