Dutch Court Orders Return to Jewish Family of Art Bought from Nazis

A civil court at Arnhem ruled today that a sculpture belonging to the late Jakob Goldschmidt, famous German banker and Jewish philanthropist, bought during a Nazi auction in 1941, must be returned to the Goldschmidt estate in New York. The ruling, although still in preliminary form, could affect many millions of dollars worth of confiscated Jewish properties disposed of by the Nazi regime.

The case had been brought to the Dutch court by Alfred Erwin Goldschmidt, of New York, a son of the late Mr. Goldschmidt, and a New York attorney, J.D. Wolff, acting as executors of the estate. They proved to the court that an Honore Daumier bronze sculpture, Ratiapil, now in a museum at Cologne, West Germany, had been part of the vast Goldschmidt art collection left by the Jewish leader when he fled from the Nazi regime in 1933.

The Goldschmidt collection was auctioned off by the Nazis in 1941, and the Daumier was bought by a Mr. Rentjes, a Dutch art collector. The latter loaned it to the Cologne Museum. the Arnhem court ruled today that Mr. Rentjes must get the bronze back from Cologne and return it to the Goldschmidt estate within two weeks under penalty of 1, 000 guilders (about $280) a day for each day after the fortnight’s grace.

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