Art looted by Nazis to go on sale

The Telegraph 17 February 2003
Will Bennett

A British family whose grandparents were murdered by the Nazis are to sell art and antiques worth £2 million in one of the biggest sales of war-looted art.

The Goodman family have recently recovered silver, Old Master paintings, furniture and other antiques from the Dutch government 60 years after they were stolen by Hitler's henchmen.

The works of art were part of a huge collection originally amassed by Eugen Gutmann, who founded the Dresdner Bank in Germany, and passed on to his son Fritz and the latter's wife Louise.

The Gutmanns, whose family was originally Jewish but had converted to Roman Catholicism in the 19th century, moved in 1917 to Holland, where they assumed Dutch nationality.

When the Nazis invaded in 1940 they declared the Gutmanns to be Jewish and ordered them to sell their collection to a Berlin dealer who was one of Hitler's chief art procurers in occupied Europe.

The Gutmanns were then encouraged by the Nazis to move to Italy. They agreed but were put on a train to Berlin, where they were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Mr Gutmann was beaten to death at the Theresienstadt camp and his wife later died in Auschwitz, enabling the Nazis to seize their collection.

Their son Bernard took British citizenship and anglicised his surname to Goodman. He spent years trying to track down the collection. After Mr Goodman died in 1994 his sons Nick and Simon continued his quest.

The Commission for Looted Art in Europe took up the family's case and last year the Dutch agreed to return 233 paintings and antiques. Now the family has decided to sell more than 90 of the recovered works at Christie's in May and June.
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