Imagine the thoughts that passed through the mind of Kajetan Mühlmann in June 1941 as he sat in the first-class compartment of the Reichsbahn train carrying him from Cracow to Berlin. Next to him, wrapped tightly in protective packaging, were three paintings: Raphael Portrait of a Gentleman, Leonardo da Vinci Lady with an Ermine, and Rembrandt Landscape with the Good Samaritan. They were three of the most prized artworks in Poland--taken from the Czartoryski family's collection--and they were in his personal care.
Mühlmann, it would seem, had very mixed emotions as he watched the Polish countryside pass outside the window. On the one hand, he was a Nazi, a German nationalist, and took great satisfaction in the notion that these masterpieces, these examples of "Aryan" superiority, were returning heim ins Reich ("home to the Reich"). Mühlmann later testified about the excitement he felt merely transporting these masterpieces and the prospect of reporting their arrival in Berlin to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, his patron and protector, undoubtedly