Two Pieces of Nazi-Looted Dutch Art to Be Returned to Heirs

17th Century Paintings Belonged to Collector Sam Bernhard Levie

By JTA

Published March 16, 2014.
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The Dutch government said it will return two Nazi-looted paintings to the heirs of a Jewish Holocaust victim.

The 17th-century paintings — “Amsterdam Town Hall” by Gerrit Berckheyde and “View of a Dutch Harbour with Figures” by Adam Willaerts — belonged to the Dutch Jewish collector Sam Bernhard Levie, the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War wrote on its website last week.

Holland’s minister of education, culture and science, Jet Bussemaker, has accepted the advice, the commission said, and will return the paintings to Levie’s heirs.

Levie sold the artworks in September 1940, several months after the German occupation of the Netherlands, to the art dealer Walter Andreas Hofer, who acted as an agent for Nazi party boss Herman Goring.

Levie was deported to the Sobibor death camp in Poland, where he was murdered in 1943.

The statement did not say how much money Levie received from the sale.

The paintings were shipped to Germany and then returned to Holland and incorporated into the government’s national art collection. The Willaerts painting was on loan at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. The Berckheyde painting was at the Amsterdam Museum.

Last year, a different advisory committee found that dozens of Dutch museums are in possession of at least 139 items with “problematic origins.” The list published by the Committee for Museum Acquisitions in October of works from 1933 onward includes priceless items that are in the hands of 41 museums, including such renowned institutions as the Rijks and Stedelijk museums.


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