Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Jewish Descendants Can Sue Germany For Return Of Nazi-Looted Guelph Treasure

(JTA) — A U.S. district court has cleared the way for descendants of Jewish art collectors to sue Germany in the United States over objects allegedly obtained from their ancestors under duress during the Nazi era.

The ruling comes three years after a German investigative commission found that the owners of a collection – known as the Welfenschatz, or Guelph Treasure – were not forced to sell it by the Nazis.

In what lawyers for the complainants are calling a landmark ruling, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled March 31 that claims regarding the collection – which the Dresdner Bank purchased on behalf of Hitler’s deputy, Hermann Goering, in 1935 – can be filed in a U.S. court.

It is the first time that a court has held that Germany can be sued for the return of Nazi-looted art and artifacts under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

For several years, heirs to the consortium of Jewish collectors that bought the 82-piece collection in 1929 as an investment have been demanding the return of the portion sold to Goering. They have estimated its value at approximately $227 million.

The treasure is on display at Berlin’s Bode Museum.

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.