Jewish Art Treasures
"Property of the Third Reich"
Another player in this scene was so�called neutral Switzerland that sold an enormous amount of looted French art that Germany brought into the country. During the postwar years, Switzerland resisting submitting to the Allies an inventory of Germany's assets.
The Nazi conspiracy to steel the world's greatest works of art, was a successful conspiracy that transpired between 1933 and 1944 on Parisian soil. To this date, 15,000 works of art that were confiscated, stolen, or both from private collections and galleries, are as yet unclaimed and reside in French museums. A French government agency, the Cour des Comptes, in 1996 issued a confidential report that contained a shocking revelation - it was highly critical of the administration's reluctance to try to contact the owners of these priceless masterpieces. It also alleged that certain government ministries were aware of the existence of this looted art that was stashed away in French museums. Feliciano speculates that some owners might even have deliberately and knowingly sold their art to the Nazis and feared reclaiming them would categorize them as collaborators.
There has yet been an accurate compilation of the inventory of art presently stored in French museums since these museums as well as the Ministry of Culture, never deemed it necessary to compile such an inventory. Nor did they deem it necessary to seriously pursue the owners.
The international art market unwittingly purchased these confiscated paintings. So today, museums, private collection, and auction houses around the world are in possession of art treasures stolen from Jews who survived and who disappeared after the war, or who are so thankful that they survived that reclaiming materials possessions is unimportant.
Hector Feliciano is the editor-in-chief of World Media Network and a former cultural writer for the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times and presently lives in Paris.
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