Will Victims of Nazi Art Thieves Finally Get Justice?

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tags: Nazi, Nazi Art Theft



Remember The Monuments Men—the 2014 film starring a host of notables from Bill Murray to George Clooney to Matt Damon? The one about Nazis stealing the art of their Jewish victims, as well as other prized works maintained in Nazi-occupied Europe, and the quest led by an international team of art historians to locate, save and return them to their owners or their owners’ families?

The Hollywood depiction involved a generally happy ending, but for many of the families affected by Nazi theft in the realm of art confiscation, the real-life version has not ended well at all. Even today, decades later, some families are still chasing down prized masterpieces and fighting in court for restitution of ownership—including here in the United States.

Meet Marei von Saher. She is the daughter-in-law of Jacques Goudstikker, a Dutch art collector who fled Nazi-dominated Europe and whose firm was subsequently forced to sell his art to the Nazis. Von Saher is on a mission to get back the art that was taken from her father-in-law’s firm, despite some fairly challenging circumstances. For one thing, Goudstikker himself declined to pursue restitution—albeit via a system that imposed substantial costs and that the Dutch government in 1998 dubbed “cold and even callous.” And for another, well, a lot of time has passed since World War II.




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