Israel Museum Returns Nazi-Looted Impressionist Painting to Heir of Owner

Museum Repurchases Piece from the Family

New Home?: The Israel Museum returned a painting stolen by the Nazis to the heir of the owner, then repurchased it.
Wikicommons
New Home?: The Israel Museum returned a painting stolen by the Nazis to the heir of the owner, then repurchased it.

By JTA

Published May 31, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Israel Museum returned a Nazi-looted painting to the heirs of its original owner, then repurchased the artwork.

The Impressionist painting “Garden in Wannsee” by the German-Jewish artist Max Liebermann was returned to an heir of Max Cassirer, a wealthy Berlin businessman and scion of a renowned family of art dealers, the museum said in a statement Tuesday. The price of the repurchase was not to be disclosed, according to the agreement.

Nazi persecution forced Cassirer to sell his business, Dr. Cassirer & Co., in 1935. Four years later he immigrated to Switzerland and later to England.

In 1941, Cassirer’s assets were confiscated by the Nazis. Some of his paintings were sold at auction, and others, including “Garden in Wannsee,” were seized by a Nazi looting agency.

Following World War II, the painting was found and handed over to the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization, or JRSO. In 1950, the restitution agency gave the painting to the Bezalel National Museum, the precursor to the Israel Museum.

A prewar photo was discovered showing the painting hanging in Cassirer’s home in Berlin, leading to the restitution.

“The rightful restitution of works of art that were stolen or unwillingly sold during the Second World War is a challenge that many continue to face, and it is gratifying when ongoing research relating to JRSO works in our collection results in their return,” said James Snyder, the Anne and Jerome Fisher director of the Israel Museum. “We do our best to be exemplary in the handling of World War II restitution claims and are especially pleased to be able to achieve a resolution in the case of Max Liebermann’s masterwork ‘Garden of Wannsee,’ with title restituted to its rightful heirs, while we are able to continue to keep the work itself for the Museum’s collection.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.