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There are countless stories of buried, hidden, lost and then "exhumed" artworks, preserved thanks to having been hidden. The Croatian Jew Erich Slomovič possessed an art collection of around 600 paintings, including works by Picasso, Chagall and Matisse, which he acquired while working in Paris in his early twenties as the protégé of the art dealer Ambroise Vollard. When Slomovič fled Paris in anticipation of the Nazi invasion, he placed 190 paintings in a bank vault, while the rest were boxed up and smuggled across Nazi-occupied territories with the assistance of the Yugoslav Embassy, eventually to be brought to Belgrade. Slomovič was arrested shortly after and was killed in a concentration camp, aged 27. His art collection survived far longer. In 1981, the 190 works in the vault in Paris were set to be auctioned off, in lieu of unpaid banking expenses. This prompted Slomovič's descendants into legal action, in opposition to Vollard's heirs, who claimed that Slomovič stole the works from the renowned dealer. The auction of the vault's contents, which were eventually divided among Slomovič's and Vollard's heirs, finally went ahead at Sotheby's in 2010, and the 190 works earned around $30 million. But the 400 or so that made their way back to Belgrade were hidden behind a false wall, in anticipation of the rounding up of Belgrade's Jews, and remained undiscovered throughout the war. After the war, Slomovič's relatives recovered the artworks but died in a train crash while carrying them to Belgrade; the art was described in one account as being scattering across "a muddy field in central Serbia." The works were retrieved and eventually arrived at the National Museum of Belgrade, where they have remained ever since. But there are other versions of this story. It is all ostensibly true, but varies depending on which historical account you read, and who you ask. One alternate version is told in a novelistic style here by Leon Pogelsek, a Slovenian art dealer who personally knew some of the characters involved in the Yugoslav chapter of the story and, indeed, was involved himself-he appears in this story under the pseudonym Leon Sattler. He related his version of the Slomovič story, which remains one of the great mysteries of lost art, to multi-award-winning Slovenian author, Slavko Pregl. The result is the book in your hands. It's a true story to the best knowledge of the authors, but it reads like a novel. Can the lost collection be found? This book is published as part of the ARCA Publications imprint, dedicated to promoting knowledge and awareness of art crime and cultural heritage protection, and with the support of JAK, the Slovenian Book Agency. For more information on ARCA, visit www.artcrimeresearch.org.