Severe shortcomings and mismanagement at the Museum of Military History
The report published today on the "Museum of Military History" lists a considerable number of problems, shortcomings and cases of mismanagement at the Museum of Military History. In the course of the ACA’s audit procedures, suspicions arose that several findings could constitute grounds for criminal proceedings. Consequently, the ACA already forwarded the relevant sections of its draft report to the competent public prosecutor’s office.
The audited period spanned in particular the years from 2014 through 2018. In individual cases, the auditors also took into account the previous years and the first half of 2019.
The ACA recommends to evaluate the organizational form of the museum
The Museum of Military History is a subsequent agency of the Federal Ministry of Defence. The museum’s director therefore acts under the disciplinary and professional supervision of the ministry. The list of shortcomings at the Museum of Military History is long: in addition to non-compliance with legal provisions, as was the case with contract awards and construction works, and shortcomings regarding the management of collections, the museum has neither a compliance management system in place nor any awareness for compliance. The ACA recommends to the Museum of Military History to establish, in coordination with the ministry, a compliance management system under consideration of the specificities of the museums’ operations. This should also take into account the implementation of an anti-corruption culture across all hierarchical levels.
In addition to the numerous and severe shortcomings as regards the management of the Museum of Military History, the auditors criticize the insufficient disciplinary and professional supervision by the ministry. Due to the high number of ascertained shortcomings, the ACA recommends to the ministry to evaluate the aptness of the Museum of Military History’s organizational form as a subordinate agency and to critically compare it with other organizational forms of federal museums.
Letters of Egon Schiele remain lost
As indicated by the Museum of Military History itself, the museum has about 1.2 million collection objects. The ACA criticizes that the museum has no overall overview of its collection because since the end of World War II – namely for 75 years – it has failed to completely update the inventory. Up to now, the Museum of Military History has not had full knowledge of the losses incurred due to the consequences of war and the post-war period. The auditors furthermore revealed that parts of the collection, in particular three letters of Egon Schiele, remain lost. The letters written in spring 1918 were a correspondence between Schiele and the then director of the museum. Three curators have known about the lost letters since early 2016, but failed to inform the museum’s management.
Garrison site Zwölfaxing: tank spare parts of unknown origin
In its report, the ACA criticizes several cases of mismanagement regarding the Museum of Military History’s warehouses at the garrison site Zwölfaxing. Of particular concern is the fact that in the framework of their on-site audits the auditors detected several bunkers – filled with tank spare parts of unknown origin. The museum’s management stated that it had learned about the existence of the tank spare parts only from the ACA. It was already during the ongoing audit that the Museum of Military History requested the ministry to file a criminal complaint against the official who had the keys to the bunkers – in particular due to the suspected “unauthorized possession of war material”. The ACA recommends to the Museum of Military History and to the ministry to analyze the reasons for the shortcomings regarding the warehouses at the garrison site Zwölfaxing and to adopt measures to prevent such shortcomings in the future - and, if need be, to take the necessary steps under criminal and disciplinary law.
Associations related to the museum: risk of conflicts of interest
At the time of the audit, the director of the Museum of Military History held several management board mandates in associations that are related to the museum. The ACA criticizes that several associations had their headquarters at the address of the Museum of Military History although the ministry had not issued any approval. The close interrelations with regard to staff, the premises and the organizational structure give rise to a risk of conflicts of interest.
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Report: Museum of Military History (in German)
From August to November 2019, the ACA audited the Museum of Military History-Institute of Military History and the Federal Ministry of Defence on the topic “Museum of Military History”. The audit aimed at presenting and assessing the compliance management system, the financial management and the use of funds, the staffing, the regional sites, the collections, the exhibitions and events as well as the awarding of contracts and the construction works.