• Stolen Houses
    Miroslav Ambroz & Anne Jamison

Rudolf de Sandalo, Villa Tugendhat, 1931, Brno, Czechoslovakia. Courtesy of Miroslav Ambroz.

Stolen Houses documents the fate of the Villa Tugendhat and other architecturally significant houses confiscated by the Nazis from the Jewish citizens of Brno, Czechoslovakia. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Villa is an icon of Functionalist architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage–site, the subject of many architectural studies, and even the inspiration for a highly regarded work of fiction. Stolen Houses tells stories, too, but aspires to historical accuracy. Using painstakingly unearthed and unknown documents, images, and interviews, the authors trace the stories of these homes and their contents from the earliest design stages to the multiple acts of theft, vandalism, and repurposing that left them damaged, destroyed, or lost. The story of these lost homes is also the story of a forgotten culture—the once prominent Brno Jewry—and its profound influence on international modernist architecture.

Miroslav Ambroz holds an MA in art history from Masaryk University, and has worked as a forensic- art expert for over twenty years. He curated the major architecture and design exhibition Vienna Secession and Modernism (2005), the first comprehensive exhibition of this period in applied arts, as well as edited and designed the companion volume. Both the exhibition and volume received major national awards and international acclaim. Ambroz has published essays in Czech, German, and English, and is a noted art and architectural photographer; his credits include the most recently published images of the Villa Tugendhat. His research has been instrumental in the Villa (among other sites) attaining UNESCO World Heritage status and he continues to guide its restoration. His expertise has also supported the efforts of survivors and descendants of Brno's Jewish community to recover confiscated property of artistic significance.

Anne Jamison is associate professor of English at the University of Utah. She holds an MA in Czech literary history and language from the University of London and a PhD in comparative literature from Princeton University. Her books Poetics en passant (Palgrave, 2010) and the forthcoming Kafka's Other Prague both employ extensive archival materials to illuminate forgotten facets of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary and cultural history. In particular, her work on Kafka considers The Castle in terms of the theory and politics of language and architecture in the early days of Czechoslovakia. Related work on the intersections of German, Jewish, and Czech culture has appeared in a number of journal articles, lectures, and presentations. Her interest in Brno's architectural history dates back to her first visit to the city in 1990.