Investigation of art stolen by Nazis continues in The Netherlands

Spero News 20 October 2010

Netherlands daily Trouw reported that the Dutch Restitution Commission - which rules upon claims made for art stolen from Jews by Nazis during the Second World War - will be reappointed for another three year term. The commission should have wound up some years ago but claims are still coming to light, says Trouw.

In addition, all the Netherlands' 400 museums are taking part in a large-scale survey to find out whether works in their possession were stolen from Jewish citizens or others during the war. The survey should be finished in a couple of years and will probably lead to yet more claims.

Trouw reminds us that the Dutch record on this issue has not always been good. A single, half-hearted attempt to deal with the problem was made in the 1950s, but it was only in 1997, when the scandal of gold - stolen from Jews and held in Swiss bank vaults - hit the news, that the subject was reviewed.

An official commission at the time condemned the "bureaucratic, cold and often heartless manner" in which claims had been assessed. The rules were made more flexible and 500 objects have since been returned to their rightful owners. The Nazi-art issue is not likely to be laid to rest for some time.
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