Legislation by Senator Anna Kaplan and Assemblymember Charles Lavine would require museums to acknowledge art stolen from the Jewish Community during the Nazi era in Europe, ensuring that vital history is not lost to the ages
The bill was recently signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul at a special signing ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC
Photo caption: Senator Anna M. Kaplan and Assemblymember Charles Lavine join Governor Kathy Hochul as she signs the Nazi Art Bill into law at a special ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC
CARLE PLACE, NY (October 7, 2022) - Recently, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Nazi Art Bill into law at a special ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. The bill, S.117A, by NYS Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) and Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine (D-Glen Cove), requires museums to post a notice or placard alongside the display of any art stolen during the Nazi era in Europe acknowledging the piece’s history and provenance. The new law is a groundbreaking step in Kaplan and Lavine’s ongoing effort to keep the history of the Holocaust alive and ensure that “never again” truly means never again. The bill was signed by Governor Hochul along with the Holocaust Education Law also sponsored by Senator Kaplan.
Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, "During the Holocaust, some 600,000 paintings were stolen from Jewish people not only for their value, but to wipe our culture and identity off the face of the Earth. Today, artwork previously stolen by the Nazis can be found hanging in museums around New York with no recognition of the dark paths they traveled there. With the history of the Holocaust being so important to pass on to the next generation, it's vital that we be transparent and ensure that anyone viewing artwork stolen by the Nazis understand where it came from and its role in history."
Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine said, "80 years later we are still forced to confront the horrors of the Holocaust. Too many people remain ignorant of the indiscriminate wholesale murder of more than six million Jews by the Nazis during World War II, plus the countless examples of humiliation and, in cases such as this, blatant profiteering. This law is indicative of how we must continue to fight hate through education."
The bill, S.117A/A.3719, requires museums to acknowledge the origins of art pieces that were stolen from Europeans during the Nazi era, primarily from Jewish families. During World War II, the Nazis looted some 600,000 paintings from Jews, enriching the Third Reich and eliminating all vestiges of Jewish identity and culture. Museums across New York display this stolen art with no recognition of or transparency around their origins, and this legislation will require museums to disclose information on the history of these stolen art pieces.
The bill takes effect immediately, and some New York museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, have already begun work to comply with the new law by cataloging art within their collection that may be impacted and investigating their provenance.