The New York Times: Shedding Light on Nazi Loot

October 27, 2014, by the Editorial Board – Excerpt

“Among the tales of art treasures seized by the Nazis from Jewish families, few are as gripping — and as galvanized by modern data-driven detection — as a lawsuit now under way in Switzerland and New York by relatives of Ludwig and Margret Kainer, German Jews whose vast, world-class art collection was stolen by the Nazis before World War II. Relatives of the Kainers have gone to court complaining that they did not know until recent years that a foundation created by a Swiss bank as a designated family “heir” had been reaping millions of dollars in art sales and restitutions.”

“The case of the seized Kainer treasures, which included real estate, bank accounts and works by Degas, Renoir, Goya and other masters, came to light only after a modern data-searching company, the Mondex Corporation, discovered hundreds of works once owned by the Kainers listed as missing on an international database.”

“Swiss banks have been accused before of trying to block attempts at recovery by Jewish war survivors. The banks, in turn, have blamed postwar confusion. The Kainer case shows how much advanced data-searching methods can help in these cases. They force a sharper focus on one of the shameful hangovers of the war, a focus that banks and governments should be the first to use in seeking honest restitution of the still scattered Nazi loot.”

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