The Nazi paintings stolen from Jews during World War II were discovered almost two years ago and many people are wondering the long delay.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Nazi art found in a Munich, Germany apartment is apparently worth $1.3 billion.
The Nazi paintings found in a Munich home of an 80-year-old-man named Cornelius Gurlitt comprised about 1,500 works of modernist art. The names of the painters included such renowned figures as Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that the Nazis seized approximately 16,000 artworks from Jews.
Meike Hoffmann, an art expert from Berlin’s Free University, is assessing the Nazi paintings, which are said to be in good condition and stored in a secret location so experts won’t be distracted by false claims or those seeking to reclaim their lost artwork. Mr. Hoffmann is thrilled by the lost Nazi art found in Germany:
“When you stand in front of works that were long considered lost, missing or destroyed, and you see them again, in a relatively good condition – a little bit dirty but not damaged – it’s an incredible feeling of happiness.”
Out of the 1,500 pieces of Nazi art found in Munich about 200 of them had international warrants. Apparently, Cornelius Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, was given the responsibility of selling the Nazi paintings by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. But that didn’t happen so when the elder Gurlitt passed away the Nazi paintings suddenly became liable for death taxes potentially worth tens or hundreds of millions and Cornelius was accused of tax evasion.
And that’s also the reason why the announcement of the Nazi paintings was delayed by two years. Authorities claim they did not remain silent due to “improper intentions” but precisely because it was a tax evasion probe. In fact, Cornelius Gurlitt used to sell paintings to support himself and now he’s vanished.
But Chris Marinello, the director and founder of London-based Art Recovery International, seems to disagree with the decision to keep the Nazi paintings a secret:
“When you’re dealing with Nazi-looted artwork that may belong to heirs in their 80s or 90s struggling to reconnect with their heritage, a detailed list of seized items should be posted online immediately.”
Julius Berman, Chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, agree that the Nazi art should have returned to the Jewish families who originally owned them:
“Had this discovery been made public at the time it was made, families looking for their lost art would have been able to potentially identify works within this collection. Publicizing the existence of Nazi-looted art is essential to the process of finding heirs.”
Do you think the Nazi paintings should have remained a secret for so long?