Lawsuit over seized German art is dismissed

AP 30 July 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal judge in Nashville has dismissed a lawsuit by a Holocaust survivor and his family against the German government over an extensive art collection seized by the Nazis.

Retired Vanderbilt University economics professor Fred Westfield sought unspecified damages for some 400 pieces of lost art including paintings by El Greco and Peter Paul Rubens. The 82-year-old Westfield claimed the paintings were owned by his family and were seized by the Nazis and sold at auction during World War II.

U.S. District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell, in dismissing the suit, ruled Tuesday that the seizure of the art collection was not a commercial act. The judge also said Westfield should seek damages elsewhere than a U.S. federal court.
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