When Jews were sent into gas chambers during World War II, their possessions were stolen, confiscated or they were forced to sell them. Now eight families have been contacted and informed that, as descendants, they are heirs to stolen works of art.
Dutch museums will clean up
The thefts took place in the period from 1933 until the end of WWII. Some of the artworks are today present in various museums in the Netherlands.
Since 2009, Dutch museums have been encouraged to investigate the origins of the artworks they have in their collections. Until now, over 170 works of art have been investigated. These artifacts are considered to have been stolen, confiscated or forced sold in the period 1933-1945.
Family research has been helpful
MyHeritage has almost 100 million users worldwide. A total of 43 million family trees have been created. In connection with the stolen works of art, an Israeli firm established its own voluntary research department. This has been involved in finding the rightful heirs.
In several of the cases the name of the original owner was written on the rear of the artwork. Based on these names, the researchers could establish special family trees and were able to find links in MyHeritage’s huge family database.
Forsk.no reports that the descendants currently live in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and in Israel.
The International Holocaust Day
The Holocaust is marked every year as the International Holocaust Day. This has been adopted by the UN and the date is the 27th of January.
It is not random that the day is marked on this fixed date. January 27, 1945, was the day when Soviet forces released about 7,000 remaining prisoners from Auschwitz in German occupied Poland.
The Minister for Knowledge and Integration in Norway, Jan Tore Sanner, held this year a speech at the memorial to the deported Norwegian Jews. The memorial consists of eight chairs that are erected outside the wall of the Akershus Fortress in Oslo.
For the ones that can read Norwegian, the speech can be read in its entirety at regjeringen.no. There is unfortunately no English translation of the speech.
A total of 250 Norwegian Jewish families were exterminated during WWII.