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Panel: No need to return Nazi victim’s art

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A London institute holding eight paintings once owned by a Nazi victim should not return the art to his heirs, a British panel said.

The heirs of Curt Glaser, a noted Berlin art historian, have rejected the recommendation of the British Spoliation Advisory Panel regarding the paintings held by the Courtauld Institute in London.

The heirs have asked the panel to reconsider its decision. They plan to take further legal action, their attorney told London’s Telegraph newspaper.

Glaser sold the paintings, including a drawing by Renoir, in Berlin in May 1933 as he hastily left Germany. He had lost his position as director of the Berlin State Art Library and his state-owned apartment due to Nazi persecution.

The panel’s report found that Glaser was a Nazi victim and that Nazi persecution caused the sale of his artworks, but also concluded that his claims to the artworks were "morally insufficient" to warrant their return. The panel also found that Glaser received a "fair market price" for the paintings.

The panel questioned Glaser’s motivation for leaving Berlin, explaining that he wrote to a friend saying he was happy to "unburden himself" from his possessions and leave Germany with his new wife.

The works, mostly by Italian artists, date from the 17th century to the early 20th century.

 

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