A federal law passed late last year, designed to make it easier for families to recover art stolen by the Nazis, is getting its first test in a New York court.
While the Nazis were plundering Europe, one of the many things they did was to steal artwork from the owners and keep it for themselves. Under international law, artwork is supposed to be returned to the original owners or their heirs.
Since the Nazis were defeated a long time ago, many people might think that has been done by now. They would be wrong in many cases.
The current holders of many contested works have successfully defended themselves against the heirs for technical reasons, such as the statute of limitations. To address this problem, last year the U.S. Congress passed the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act, known as the HEAR Act.
It is about to get its first use, according to the New York Times in “A Suit Over Schiele Drawings Invokes New Law on Nazi-Looted Art.”
The case is over two drawings by Egon Schiele that were once owned by Fritz Grunbaum. The Nazis took Grunbaum’s artwork from his home in Vienna in 1938 and sent him to a concentration camp where he died.
His heirs claim the Nazis stole the artwork.
However, that has been disputed by dealers, current owners and museums, who claim the Nazis only inventoried the works. They also claim that Grunbaum’s sister-in-law sold some of the works, including the two drawings in the current dispute, to a dealer in the 1950s.
Grunbaum’s heirs have previously lost in court trying to recover this artwork.
They claim they have lost for the very technical reasons the HEAR Act was designed to prevent.
Since this is the first time the Act will be used in court, how the court uses the Act will be closely monitored.
Reference: New York Times (Feb. 27, 2017) “A Suit Over Schiele Drawings Invokes New Law on Nazi-Looted Art.”
“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”
Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.