Dutch museum to pay £172K to owners of Nazi-looted painting it won’t return
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Dutch museum to pay £172K to owners of Nazi-looted painting it won’t return

Dutch government’s Restitutions Committee decided that the Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle should keep the works because the public had a right to see it

Museum de Fundatie (Wikipedia/Author	Michielverbeek/ Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode)
Museum de Fundatie (Wikipedia/Author Michielverbeek/ Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode)

A Dutch museum will compensate the rightful owners of a Nazi-looted painting the government said it could keep because displaying it would benefit the public interest.

Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle has agreed to give £172,000 ($240,000) to the descendants of Jewish Holocaust victims who under duress sold the 1635 painting “Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well” by Bernardo Strozzi, the Noordhollands Dagblad reported Monday. It has not been assessed, thus its value is unknown.

The painting, which was sold by Richard Semmel of Berlin, is one of several artworks that the Dutch government’s Restitutions Committee has acknowledged as looted art. The committee holds, however, that the museums should be allowed to keep and display the paintings because the public’s right to have access to the culturally significant works outweighs the interests of the rightful owners.

This approach, which is unique among countries that say they are interested in resolving ownership issues among Nazi-looted art, has exposed the Netherlands to international scrutiny and criticism.

It risks “turning the Netherlands from a leader in art restitution to a pariah,” restitution expert Anne Webber and Wesley Fisher, the director of research for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany,  wrote last year in an op-ed.

The best-known looted item on display in the Netherlands is “Painting with Houses” by Wassily Kandinsky, whose worth is valued at $20 million at least. Amsterdam’s municipal museum, Stedelijk, acknowledges it was looted but has not offered to compensate the rightful owners, who have sued the museum and lost.

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments