Irish president slams Wiesenthal Center


Ireland’s president attacked the Simon Wiesenthal Center for claiming a Limerick museum had links with Nazi art dealers.

In a speech Monday decrying the center’s 2003 allegation that the Hunt Museum contained art looted from Holocaust victims, President Mary McAleese said the human rights organization had acted in a “mean-spirited” fashion and “diminished” the reputation of its namesake.

“Growing up, Wiesenthal was a name I deeply respected. I cannot say the same about the Simon Wiesenthal Center,” she said.

In 2003, the center’s European director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, urged McAleese to withdraw the 2003 Irish Museum of the Year Award from the Hunt Museum because of “the suspicious provenance of its collection.” Samuels went on to claim in further correspondence with the Irish government that the museum’s founders, John and Gertrude Hunt, had trafficked in Nazi-looted art during World War II.

Last year, an investigation commissioned by the Royal Irish Academy found no proof that the allegations about the Hunts were true. The Wiesenthal Center is expected to produce its own report on the matter within the next three months.

Samuels told the Irish national broadcaster Tuesday that McAleese’s remarks were “uncalled for.”



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