European governments must participate with returning Nazi-taken art

Washington Post 6 January 2019

Letter to the Editor

Stuart E. Eizenstat maintained in his Jan. 3 Thursday Opinion essay, 'Unfinished work: Returning Nazi-looted art', that the international community will return art taken from Jews and others persecuted under Nazi rule if it rededicates itself to the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art. But some countries, including the Netherlands, which recently refused to return a valuable Wassily Kandinsky painting or provide compensation to the rightful owners, outrageously assume that property transfers during the Holocaust era were normal business transactions based on free will while maintaining that they are in full compliance with the Washington Principles.

Justice for the victims and their descendants will be difficult to come by unless European legal systems recognize the obvious fact that Holocaust persecutees were not operating under normal business conditions.

James Smalhout, Bethesda
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