Czech Supreme Court confirms Jewish claim for looted art

1945 12 November 2007

Brno- The Czech Supreme Court (NS) has upheld the claim of the descendants of Jewish businessman Oskar Federer from Vitkovice, North Moravia, to 21 pantings from the Plastic Arts Gallery in Ostrava, North Moravia, and East Bohemian Gallery in Pardubice, CTK found from the NS files today.

The judges rejected a recourse lodged by the Pardubicky and Moravskoslezsky regions against a verdict by the Pardubice regional court that ruled that the authorities had to return the paintings to Federers' grandsons.

In the verdict, the regions were denoted as administrators of the galleries.

Some time ago, the East Bohemian Gallery returned a painting from Federer's collection, a Landscape by Czech painter Otakar Nejedly.

The Moravskoslezsky region waited for the NS verdict. The Ostrava gallery still has works by Ilya Repin, Edvard Munch, Lovis Corinth and Antonin Slavicek, valued at millions of crowns.

In their recourse, both regions claimed that the court had not proved that the paintings really belonged to Federer.

They could be owned by the Vitkovicke hutni a horni tezirstvo mining company, once managed by Federer, they argued.

The NS ruled that the lower instance court had proceeded correctly and that the law on property theft from Holocaust victims applied to Federer's case.

Federer led the Vitkovice company from 1932 and was its last pre-war director. He fled the Nazi rule in March 1939. Decades later, a claim to his inheritance was raised by his grandson Andrew Federer from Canada and his siblings.
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