İlknur Şebnem Öztemel-TDO- A U.S. federal judge has allowed bringing anaction against Germany over claims of the Nazi-era ‘’theft’’ from Jewish dealers of a celebrated collection of gilded medieval art treasures.
Nicholas O'Donnell, an attorney for the heirs of three Jewish art dealers argued that Nazis terrorized their family in 1935 for selling the collection at far below market price. They claim Germany to reinstate the Welfenschatz collection which includes centuries-old gem-studded busts of saints and golden crucifixes.
According to the legal records, the Welfenschatz collection had been stored by the Brunswick Cathedral in Brunswick, Germany. In 1929, a group of Jewish art dealers in Germany bought the art from the Duke of Brunswick. Six years later, the dealers sold the art to the state of Prussia. Then, the state was administered by prominent Nazi official Hermann Goering. It has been alleged that he forced Jewish dealers to sell the collection for just 35 percent of its market value.
The money given to Jews was deposited into a bank account but they were unable to access itas Nazis blocked it. Nazis seized the much of the already lessened amount as ‘’ flight taxes’’. O'Donnell said the transaction was orchestrated by Goering who discussed inhis lettersas they “saved the Welfenschatz."A few months later Goering presented the Welfenschatz as a “surprise gift” to Hitler during a ceremony.
Germany asked for the case to be thrown out because a U.S. court has nojurisdictionover the deal. Germany's attorney, Jonathan Freiman, said in an email as "This is a dispute that was already resolved on the merits in Germany, and it doesn't belong in a U.S. court ".