Monday, September 25, 2023

Nazi ‘loot’ to Return to Rightful Owner

Two paintings that once belonged to Montreal art dealer Max Stern, but were looted by the Nazis during the Second World War, will be returned to his estate today in Berlin.

A 2007 court decision was the first in U.S. legal history dealing with the forced sale of Jewish-owned art in Nazi Germany. The judge in that case equated the forced sale in 1937 to theft.

Clarence Epstein, the director of the Max Stern Art Restitution Project, which has spent the past seven years tracking down works from Stern’s former collection, says the judgment is groundbreaking for all claimants of looted art. “This means that every painting that was part of that forced sale … is equivalent to the Winterhalter,” Mr. Epstein said. “If that painting was deemed to be a looted work, then so are the other 227 paintings sold during that auction.”

“The great majority of Jewish artists and dealers lost their art not through straight confiscation, but because they were forced to sell it,” Mr. Konte said. He added that they were generally sold considerably below fair market value.

According to Anna Rubin, director of the New York State Banking Department’s Holocaust Claims Processing Office, more than 600,000 works of art, rare books, pieces of furniture, sculptures and jewelry were looted during the Nazi regime.

More from the Ottawa Citizen.


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