Family wins battle in Czech court to reclaim art

The Globe and Mail 16 December 2005
James Adams

Toronto -- A Canadian family has won another legal battle in its attempt to reclaim a European art collection assembled by their Jewish grandfather before the Second World War and later confiscated by the Nazis and then the Communists. A panel of three judges with the Czech Republic Court of Appeal yesterday upheld a lower-court decision of December, 2004, that granted possession of 21 works to Toronto banking executive Andrew Federer and his family.

The family has been fighting for more than 14 years to gain title to and possession of some of the estimated 140 art works -- including paintings by Gustav Klimt, James Ensor and Oskar Kokoschka -- owned by their grandfather, businessman Oskar Federer. Many of the works are housed in small public galleries in the cities of Ostrava and Pardubice. The gallery operators have fought a protracted battle to keep the works in the Czech Republic, and it's expected they will appeal yesterday's ruling to the Czech Supreme Court once the decision is published next month.
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