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More details on Feldmann case resolution

Following the details of the settlement reached for the non-return of the paintings [1] in the British Museum to the Feldmann family, some later articles add a few extra details. Most interesting is the fact that the Feldmann heirs suggest that this is what they think their grandfather would have wanted anyway – for the paintings to remain displayed in the museum to be seen by the public. This fact does imply that the whole case was in fact about financial compensation from the outset – but to obtain financial compensation the family had to go through the whole legal process to prove that the paintings could not be returned.

From:
BBC news [2]

Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Payout for Nazi art theft family

The UK government is to compensate the heirs of an art collector whose drawings were stolen by the Nazis before ending up in the British Museum.

Relatives of Dr Arthur Feldmann are to receive £175,000 after a special panel decided they had “firm evidence” that the works had been seized in 1939.

The family says the Old Master drawings can stay in the British Museum.

The panel has asked the government to introduce laws permitting the return of objects plundered during the Nazi era.

The spoliation advisory panel, which decides claims about property stolen by the Nazis and now held in UK collections, heard the drawings were seized when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia.

Both Dr Feldmann and his wife died at the hands of the Nazis.

Uri Peled, Dr Feldmann’s grandson, who lives in Israel, said: “We are sure that this is what our grandfather would have wanted, for them to be available to the public and for future research.”

‘Honourable conduct’

The drawings are by Niccolo dell’Abbate, Nicholas Blakey and Martin Johann Schmidt, with the fourth attributed to a follower of Martin Schongauer.

Three drawings entered the museum’s collection through a sale at Sotheby’s in 1946, while the other was part of a bequest to the museum in 1949.

Culture minister David Lammy said he hoped to seek public views on the panel’s proposals “shortly”.

He said: “I am currently taking expert advice on how to bring forward legislation to help put right these historic wrongs.”

He added that the compensation payment in the Feldmann case was made by the government because the British Museum had “no idea” that the works were tainted and had acted “with honour throughout”.

From:
The Independent [3]

29 April 2006 12:21
Payout to owners of art stolen by Nazis
By Louise Jury, Arts Correspondent
Published: 29 April 2006

The Government is to pay £175,000 to the heirs of a victim of the Nazis in lieu of four works of his art which were looted during the Second World War and ended up in the British Museum.

The settlement is the conclusion of a case which has dragged on for several years because it emerged the four old master drawings could not be given back to the family because of laws preventing the museum from disposing of any parts of its collection.

A panel set up by the Government to adjudicate in such cases concluded in 2002 that there was firm evidence that the works were seized from the home of Dr Arthur Feldmann by the Gestapo in 1939.

The panel, which recommended the payment, has also suggested that the Government introduces legislation to permit the restitution of objects which were spoliated during the Nazi era. David Lammy, the culture minister, said it was important that questions of ownership arising from the war were resolved. The Government will make the recommended payment.

Uri Peled, one of the Feldmann heirs, said: “We are sure that this is what our grandfather would have wanted, for them to be available to the public and for future research.”

The Government is to pay £175,000 to the heirs of a victim of the Nazis in lieu of four works of his art which were looted during the Second World War and ended up in the British Museum.

The settlement is the conclusion of a case which has dragged on for several years because it emerged the four old master drawings could not be given back to the family because of laws preventing the museum from disposing of any parts of its collection.

A panel set up by the Government to adjudicate in such cases concluded in 2002 that there was firm evidence that the works were seized from the home of Dr Arthur Feldmann by the Gestapo in 1939.

The panel, which recommended the payment, has also suggested that the Government introduces legislation to permit the restitution of objects which were spoliated during the Nazi era. David Lammy, the culture minister, said it was important that questions of ownership arising from the war were resolved. The Government will make the recommended payment.

Uri Peled, one of the Feldmann heirs, said: “We are sure that this is what our grandfather would have wanted, for them to be available to the public and for future research.”