The Portrait of Esther The Black Notebook

Rose Valland’s notebooks

Episode III - page 81

Rose Valland is always shown carrying a notebook. She secretly made detailed notes of the ERR’s activities at the Jeu de Paume Museum.

These notes were a kind of logbook, which she regularly transmitted to Jacques Jaujard, Head of France’s National Museums. Below is an excerpt where she describes a visit by the Marshal Goering:

«3 December 1941:
- Visit by Marshal Göring to the Jeu de Paume on 2 December from 4.30 pm to 6pm.
- Visit of the Luftwaffe Exhibition and the artworks confiscated from Jewish collections.
- No French visitors were admitted during the visit.
- Tomorrow, Marshal Göring will bring with him on his private train (4 December, evening), the statues from the Edouard de Rothschild Residence, with the exception of one, and approximately fifty paintings. Many are Impressionist paintings belonging to the Rosenberg Collection. »

Au cours de sa mission, Rose Valland subit des pressions et des menaces de la part des autorités allemandes. En particulier, Bruno Lohse en février 1944 :

« 9 February 1944: A long conversation with Dr Lohse who unfortunately happened to catch me while I was copying down an address. He took advantage of the situation to remind me that everyone was expected to keep everything that went on here secret and that there would be serious risks if we were to disclose information. Looking at me straight in the eyes, he told me that I could be shot. I replied calmly that nobody here was stupid enough to not know the potential risks that such behaviour could bring. »