Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Israeli Holocaust Survivor Returns Nazi-Looted Art To American Survivor

It’s not a normal story of art stolen by the Nazis being restored to its rightful owners. When it comes to Max Liebermann’s “Basket Weavers,” the unwitting Israeli purchaser of the looted painting was himself a Holocaust survivor, as was the American to whom it was returned this week.

“This was not a legal case that I wanted to win because it would not be a victory for either of the sides or for the interests of the Jewish people,” Meir Heller, the attorney for the anonymous Israeli told the Associated Press. “I’m glad that we have come to an agreement with all the emotions and all the baggage involved.”

The famous Impressionist work, worth in the hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, was stolen from the great-uncle of David Toren, the German industrial David Friedmann. Toren is now 91 years old and living in the United States – he was represented by son and attorney Peter Toren.

His son Peter Toren represented him in the restitution case, which turned ugly when the Torens accused the Israeli survivor of having known about the painting’s theft – a charge that he vehemently denied. The Israeli began the process of returning “Basket Weavers” a few years ago when he learned of its status.

Under the deal reached between the two parties, Toren apologized for the allegations and the painting was returned to him and his father, who is unfortunately now blind.

“Having something tangible that when you look at it and think about it once being in the possession of my family and the history of it — it is very special,” he told the Associated Press.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at [email protected] or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

Engage

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.