Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ World https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ The painting returns 87 years after the Nazis stole it from a Jewish family in Berlin

The painting returns 87 years after the Nazis stole it from a Jewish family in Berlin



Decades after the Nazis looted works of art from a Jewish family fleeing Germany in 1933, the painting was returned to its legal heirs.
The painting of two young skaters, “Winter” by American Impressionist Gary Melchers, is one of more than 200 works of art seized by the Nazis when the Moss family fled their homes.

The wealthy family in Berlin spoke out against the rise of the Nazis early in their newspaper, the Berliner Tageblatt. The negative attention sparked Moss’s anger at the Nazis, who publicly criticized the family and later looted their extensive art collection.

After 87 years, “Winter”
; was returned to her heirs on Thursday at a repatriation ceremony at the FBI office in Albany, New York.

“Mose’s family lost almost everything because they were Jewish, but they did not lose hope,” said U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon at a news conference. “While this certainly does not remove the pain suffered by the Moss, I hope it provides the family with some justice.”

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazi regime stole thousands of works of art from Jewish families or forced owners to sell them for a fraction of their value when the owners fled the country. The database of looted artifacts includes more than 25,000 objects, but experts say the number of stolen pieces is much higher.

Rudolf Mose was a prominent publisher from a well-known family. He bought the painting – also known as “Figure skaters” and “Snow” – directly from the artist in 1900 at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition.

Mose died in 1920, and the family’s collection and publications were passed on to his daughter when his wife died in 1924, according to federal court documents.

When the Nazis came to power, the family headed to the United States. Little did they know, and so did Winter, Bacon said.

The painting went from the Nazis to a number of people before businessman Bartlett Arkel bought it from a prominent gallery in 1934. There is no evidence that Arkel knew the painting had been stolen, Bacon said.

Since 1934, the painting has been housed in the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York.

When the museum learned that the painting had been taken illegally, it handed over the art to the FBI in 2019.

Now the painting is with the Mose Foundation, which represents the other heirs of Felicia Lachmann-Mose, Rudolf’s only daughter.

Since 2011, the Mose Art Restoration Project has been working to restore more than 1,000 works of art stolen by the Nazis, President Roger Strauch told a news conference.

“This was one of the first major alienations undertaken by the Nazis, a model for what has unfortunately become a well-oiled machine,” Strauch, Rudolf Mose’s great-grandson, said Thursday.

“Winter is worth about hundreds of thousands, but the figure will be determined at auction,” said Strauch. The painting is expected to be sold at auction by Sotheby’s.

So far, Strauch has said there are three dozen successful restitutions of more than 50 Mose pieces. But there is still work to be done, he added.

There are eight ongoing restitutions in Poland, Sweden, Germany, Israel and the United States, he said.

“Although hundreds of thousands of works of art are believed to have been stolen by the Nazis, our office is extremely proud to help even one mistake made during this evil period in world history,” said FBI Assistant Special Agent Peter Magneto in the press conference.

“We may have played a small role in a huge effort, but we will forever recognize the greatness of this work, and we are really proud to be able to return this painting to its rightful owners,” he said.


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