New York museums will display plaques identifying art looted by the Nazis during the Holocaust

Originally published in Cable Free TV on September 16, 2022.

New York museums are now required by law to post notices displaying any art looted by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

The measure was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul in August and aims to educate younger generations about the Nazi era and how it affected the provenance of Jewish-owned art in its aftermath, said Senator Anna Kaplan, Associated press reported.

Empire State museums were already required to report pieces stolen by the Nazis from 1933 to 1945 to the Art Loss Register. The new bill is part of an educational package to honor Holocaust survivors.

The organized looting of art in European countries during this time is known as Nazi looting. It is estimated that around 600,000 pieces of art were seized by the group of Jews who fled their homes to preserve their lives – and thousands remain missing, the Washington Post reported.

“Any museum exhibiting any identifiable work of art known to have been created before 1945 has changed hands due to theft, seizure, confiscation, forced sale or other involuntary means in Europe during the Nazi era, must highlight a poster acknowledging this information throughout with such a display,” states the bill.

“We owe it to them, their families and the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust to honor their memories and ensure that future generations understand the horrors of this era,” Governor Hochul said. said back in August.

Wesley Fisher, who oversees research for the Claims Conference, an organization that deals with reparations for Holocaust victims, told the Associated Press that it is critical that museums commit to preserving history and work accordingly to inform visitors about the pieces. stolen.

“As Holocaust survivors are a dying generation, this becomes much more important,” Fisher told the AP.. “Objects become much more important. The idea that students and the general public must go through museums to understand where these items come from is important.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has in its collection at least 53 pieces looted by the Nazis. They were only purchased or donated to the museum after being returned to their designated owners.

Among these works of art is a 1952 Picasso that was the subject of a lawsuit by an heir who claimed his great-grandfather sold the painting for just $13.20 when he was trying to flee Europe in 1938. The lawsuit was dropped and the museum kept the piece now worth $100 million.

The Met also returned other works, such as a snuff box, two bronze medals and a plaque to the heirs of a gallery looted by the Nazis in Munich, NBC reported.