Nazi Loot Discovery

The astonishing, controversial story of the biggest find of stolen WWII art.

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Comments (14)

(12) Kalman Moshe, November 13, 2013 11:40 PM

Counterpoint to Sidney, Re: halacha

We are not dealing with halacha here; your parents did not receive restitution because of halacha. They were entitled to restitution because in civilized societies injured parties are entitled to be made whole - not that money could actually do that for your parents. And although Germany could hardly have been called civilized, there were and are other countries watching and demanding.

If we were living in a world where halacha were the enforceable law, those bound by the Seven Noachides would face, after theft, stiffer penalties than simple restitution. Finally, my rabbi used to say that a human being is born with a basic sense of right and wrong. (Whether he abides by that conscience is another story.) My point is that the corollary of the fundamental knowledge that stealing is wrong, is that the return of stolen property is correct. Thus our damaged Jews certainly have a right to expect their property back, even without the halachah.

(11) Sidney, November 12, 2013 9:57 PM

Reply to Kalman Moshe (re Halachah)

Of course it would be in order if the Germans returned them. (My father received restitution money for his pension contributions (plus interest, etc.) which the Nazis confiscated and my mother for her interrupted education). My point was that Halachic Jews have no divine privilege to demand stolen property back..

(10) Dorene Schwartz-Weitz, November 11, 2013 11:23 PM

In cases where the owners or descendent are no longer living

In cases where the owners of the paintings or descendents are no longer living, the paintings can be housed in a museum where revenues can be used to support Holocaust and Yeshiva Education, so desperately needed and unaffordable.
Not only would an art museum be of tremendous value, it would stand as attestment to the levels of cultural awareness prevalent amongst the Jews who were victims, for the generations that followed and the world that perceived them as one dimensional.

(9) Richard Carter, November 11, 2013 7:53 PM

I don't know ... the LAW or spirit of the LAW?

I agree in as much it can be accomplished. Tzedakah - Charity and Justice as much as I understand. For many I am sure it will be a blessing to finally see it returned if they knew. Others might consider it a windfall or a blessing at just the right time and too many other thoughts run through my mind. Yes it would seem ownership transfer was unjust and should be set right! After that ... when we cannot find a link or ownership too many are already starving in fact in Israel as in other parts of the world though many might disagree. I think those that are now in heaven would echo feed my brothers and sisters. If one cannot take care of himself or herself then we are not of use to others. Then perhaps they can finally beging to help others in the community and bless them and discover even greater Joy! Giving once our needs are met gives so much more Joy than could ever be purchased by any amount of money! Just a thought ... I would love to hear how this works out and the great blessings it will porvide! Thank you for reading. Rick =)

(8) HarryWag, November 11, 2013 6:57 PM

Find the rightful owners

As soon as the provenance of each painting is discovered that painting shoiuld bre returned to its rightful owner or descendant. If there is no clear provenance then one readers's suggestion makes sense. Establish a museum in Germany and display the paintings there. Money collected from this exhibition should be used to support the Jewish community that is rising out of the ashes in 21st Century Germany.

(7) Anonymous, November 11, 2013 5:42 PM

AGREED.

Of course the owners or the descendants of the dead and murdered owners should receive their property. German museums? What Jew in his right mind would want to go to Germany and pay admission to see artwork stolen by the (former) German government - artwork that his own ancestors were robbed of?

(6) Anonymous, November 11, 2013 4:17 PM

According to German media, quite a number of the paintings were actually taken from german museums as "entartete kunst" - paintings forbidden by the Nazi regime of both Jewish and non Jewish painters. In fact, entartete Kunst sold well even in Nazi Germany : the exhibition of Entartete Kunst was well visited - coz people liked it. So its more complex, some of the rightful owners are actually German museums. Yes restitution to the rightful owners would be the right thing to do - so obvious where is the question? It would however also be right if treasures looted by the Russians, Poles etc (esp russians) were restored to Germans. The Allies helped themselves post WWII as well - only, this is hardly ever talked about for obvious reasons and you only learn if you visit museums in Dresden and Berlin where it states - "illegally held in Russia.". Let all treasures be returned to their rightful owners. Its as simple as that. And if owners cannot be located, let a museum in Berlin show the "entartete Kunst" as so much was bought very cheaply by Americans in the 1930s and is now in New York. As for looted treasures, its time for British museum to show the origins of each of its treasures - or was most looted from its colonies? The same is true for the Louvre of course.

(5) Kevin, November 11, 2013 3:42 PM

OP JB

OP JB, abbreviation for 'Operation James Bond', a book by Christopher Creighton is a book about an actual British Commando operation near the end of WWII, in which the British extracted Martin Bormann from Nazi Germany and gave him a secret identity. As Hitler's personal secretary, Bormann new where the stolen Nazi loot was hidden. As a British secret agent, Creighton participated in that operation. Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond series, was the head of that operation. Who knows what the British did with that stolen loot once they retrieved it.

(4) Sidney, November 11, 2013 4:57 AM

Is This the Halachah (Jewish Law)?

Isn't the Halachah that if people (even civilians) are uprooted (legally or illegally) during a war (let's even say World War I) that their property becomes ownerless and anyone even other civilians can claim it. Of course Judaism teaches that whenever feasible one should return such property but halachically the original owner has no claim; it is as if a river flooded and washed it away and somebody miles away picked it up and kept it. The latter is now the rightful owner, although if it has identification it would be praiseworthy to return it.

Kalman Moshe, November 11, 2013 6:30 PM

The Germans should abide by the halachah? Better they had kept the Seven Noachide Laws. Find the rightful owners and give them back their art - which could well be the only physical connection they'll ever have to their murdered forebears.

(3) Anonymous, November 11, 2013 12:21 AM

Maybe there is a better way

I appreciate and enjoy your videos. This idea smacks of the slavery restitution issue. Off the top of my head I would rather suggest a museum paid for by the German government to house the found art honoring the victims and their families so that everyone can see what happened and be positive and enjoy the works. This would put a positive spin on the tragedy and maybe help others say "never again" and teach them into the future.
Thank you.

Anonymous, November 12, 2013 8:31 PM

No such thing as a "positive spin on the tragedy" when it comes to the near extirpation of the Jewish People. or "being positive and enjoying the works" when the works are the stolen property of those successfully extirpated.

(2) David S. Levine, November 10, 2013 11:45 PM

Restitution is Necessary

Restitution is necessary if the owners or their descendants can be found. If they can't be there should be periodic exhibitions of the art and the proceeds given to Jewish institutions in Germany and around the owrld.

(1) Samantha, November 10, 2013 5:48 PM

tough justice

Money will never replace loved ones lost in the Shoah, but doing the hard work of researching the rightful owners of this art , and then returning them with an open hand would show the world that Gemany is really attemptimg to truly make amends for its very tainted past. I hope it happens.

 

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