Dutch Government Returns Paintings to Heirs of Holocaust Victims

Gerrit Berckheyde, Amsterdam Town Hall (1672)
Gerrit Berckheyde, Amsterdam Town Hall (1672). Photo: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Artwork illegally obtained by the Nazis is in the news again, as the Netherlands is returning two paintings from its national collection to the heirs of Holocaust victims Sam Bernhard Levie and Sara de Zwarte. The Jewish couple, who died in a Nazi death camp in 1943, sold Gerrit Berckheyde‘s Amsterdam Town Hall (1672) and Adam Willaerts‘s View of a Dutch Harbour with Figure in 1940.

However, a recent investigation by the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War found cause to believe that the sales were likely made under duress during the Nazis occupation of the Netherlands. Based on these findings, the Dutch minister of culture, Jet Bussemaker, has ordered the works be returned to an unnamed claimant.

Artworks stolen by the Nazis have made headlines several times in recent months.

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