Netherlands to Return Stolen World War II Art, Seized by Hitler’s Appointed Successor
Based on a recommendation from the Dutch Restitutions Committee, the Netherlands announced on Thursday that it will be returning two paintings to a Jewish antiques dealer, which were stolen by Hermann Goering following the 1940 invasion of France.
“The Restitution Committee advises the Minister for Education, Culture and Science to return the painting Portrait of a man with a dog, and the painting Landscape with cattle in a shallow river by Theobald Michau to the rightful heirs to the estate of Edouard Léon Jonas.”
Goering served as Germany’s Air Force Commander in Chief (Luftwaffe) beginning in 1935 and was Hitler’s self appointed successor. After the German invasion of France in 1940, an art adviser to Goering stole numerous pieces of art and other objects from the collection of Edouard Leon Jonas.
The Dutch government report states: “Between 21 and 25 September 1940, the works of art that Jonas had stored in Bordeaux were confiscated by the Deutsch Joseph Angerer, one of Hermann Goering’s chief art buyers, assisted by LL, a French police officer. As appears from the report of the confiscation of Jonas’ possessions, L. Angerer remarked to Jonah’s seized goods that should accrue to the Vichy regime. Nonetheless, Angerer reportedly stood by his demand that the objects be taken to Paris to be sent to Goering. By order of Goering, the works were indeed transferred to Paris and then on to Germany.”
In 1998, the Netherlands joined a pact of over 40 countries at the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, which provided one of the most comprehensive international agreements on returning stolen works to Jewish families who were victimized during the second world war.
Georing was convicted at the Nuremberg Trials and sentenced to death. However, the night before his execution, he committed suicide.