June 20, 2022
A report on a major art donor to the Wollongong Art Gallery has found he was a member of Nazi intelligence during the German occupation of Lithuania in World War II.
Bronius “Bob” Sredersas, who died in 1982 and donated around 100 art works by revered Australian artists including Grace Cossington-Smith and Arthur Streeton, has a room named after him at the gallery.
After being alerted to his past by a former Wollongong councillor, an investigation was launched by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Sydney Jewish Museum.
The Board of Deputies said a media report confirming Mr Sredersas was an intelligence officer with the Nazi security service was true.
But a spokesperson said the organisation would not comment further until after meeting with Wollongong City Council and the investigator from the Sydney Jewish Museum later this week.
Wollongong’s lord mayor Gordon Bradbery also said he was aware the investigation was now complete, but could not comment on its findings until after the meeting.
“I have been briefed but I can’t comment,” he said.
“An agreement [was reached] between the Jewish museum and the council at this stage to meet, look at the content, and discuss how we represent the collection therein after.
“Just out of respect for the Jewish community, and more specifically Jewish Museum researchers, we are just waiting for that meeting.
“We have got to have that get together and then it will it be an ongoing effort on the part of both to represent that collection in a way that’s respectful.”
Mr Bradbery said ultimately the collection and its history would have to be narrated in a way that presents its history to the community and to the rest of the world.