Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Lawyer Seeking Return of Nazi Stolen Art: There is Real Prejudice Against Jewish Claimants

October 24, 2012 4:13 pm 3 comments

The Scream. Photo: Wikiepedia

Edvard Munch’s painting ‘The Scream’ has gone on display at the MOMA today—but not without controversy.

As the New York Post reported last week Rafael Cardoso, a Brazilian curator, claims the painting was owned by his grandfather, Hugo Simon, in the 1920s and 30s. He consigned the work to a Swiss gallery before fleeing Nazi oppression in Germany. It was later acquired by a wealthy Norwegian family.

The current owner of the painting is New York billionaire Leon Black, who bought the pastel piece — one of four versions of “The Scream,” dated 1895 — for $119.9 million at auction earlier this year.

When the painting initially went to auction  Cardoso contested it, but was rebuffed, instead the New York Post report says he was offered $250,000 by the seller, Petter Olsen, to go to a charity of his choice—though the donation would have to be in his name.

He rejected the offer.

Cardoso told the New York Post:  “We have no interest whatsoever in this except as a moral issue: in the general sense that the legacy of those who were wronged should be remembered and respected,” he said.

So far MOMA has declined to comment.

In an earlier report The Post revealed that many art institutions in the United States have failed to address controversies surrounding the lineage of some of their art works.

The heirs of German painter George Grosz tried to get three works back from the MOMA but said the museum played dirty. Rather than denying guilt they successfully claimed the family had filed their 2009 lawsuit too late.

Raymond Dowd, the lawyer for the Grosz family told The Algemeiner that it will continue to be difficult for people like Rafael Cardoso to hold the art institutions accountable. “If a stolen art work is in a museum, under New York law the true owner can make a demand, then if they’re refused the return of the art work the statute of limitations in which the true owner can sue is three years. But it’s expensive and difficult [to reclaim the stolen artwork] and there’s a real prejudice, especially against Jewish claimants.”

He continued,  “There’s the court of public opinion. If people begin to care and study what happened during the holocaust, and care when museums publish falsehoods about the holocaust, public opinion will change.”

But it’s not just individuals who will be responsible for holding art institutions accountable. Says Dowd, “Our country promised in a Washington conference in 1998 to create a restitution commission to assist claimants, and Congress has failed to do this. Austria has done it, Germany has done it, Britain has done it, the Dutch have done it. But the U.S. has not taken it seriously. We have to ask ‘Is the Jewish community going to support a restitution commission?’ If there’s not vocal support from the Jewish community, it simply won’t happen.”

3 Comments

  • EVERYBODY IS KEEPING AN EYE ON JEWISH VALUABLES AND NOT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE JEWS.
    MARTIN LUTHER ALREADY WROTE: JEWISH GOLD ETC. SHOULD BE CONFISCATED FOR SAFEKEEPING.

  • Robert M S Schwartz

    When Jews reclaim art stolen by Nazi Germany, owned today by another Jew: The ridiculous life cycle of psychiatry.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →