Late Tuesday evening—the day after Memorial Day no less—the United States Office of the Solicitor General filed a brief amicus curiae in our clients’ pending case against the Federal Republic of Germany and the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz for restitution of the Guelph Treasure (in German, the Welfenschatz). This brief was in response to the Supreme Court’s invitation in January that the SG file a brief expressing the views of the United States. In an unprecedented abdication of 80 years of leadership redressing Nazi-looted art, the Solicitor General argued that there is no circumstance in which a Nazi-forced sale victimizing a German Jew in the 1930s could constitute a violation of international law such the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act would confer jurisdiction over either Germany or the SPK. The U.S. government has taken the position that only property claims against non-Germans suffice—even though, of course, the U.S. government has acknowledged in every relevant context since the early 1940s that Jews ceased to be full members of German society on the day Hitler assumed power: January 30, 1933. This is an historic disgrace. Germany has rightly been shamed for minimizing in court over the last five years the genocidal character of its persecution against Jews, but for the United States to do so the day after we rightly honored the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died to defeat Nazi Germany is appalling.
Topics: Guelph Treasure, Monuments Men, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets, Supreme Court, Holocaust Victims Redress Act, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Hermann Goering, FSIA, Monuments Fine Arts and Archives Program, Washington Principles, Federal Republic of Germany, Welfenschatz, Military Government Law 59, Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act, HEAR Act, Wannsee Conference, D.C. Circuit, Military Government Law No. 59, london declaration
Next Friday November 1, 2013, the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation is holding its annual conference, and hosting and event entitled "The Monuments Men, Social Media, the Law and Cultural Heritage." It is being held at Fordham Law School, Lincoln Center Campus, 140 W. 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023, from 8:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Scheduled speakers include Robert Edsel and Lynn Nicholas. This is an all-star cast.
Topics: Darius Arya, Leila Amineddoleh, Chasing Aphrodite, Thomas R. Kline, George Clooney, Lynn Nicholas, Richard B. Jackson, The Rape of Europa, Diane Penneys Edelman, Robert Edsel, Lucille Roussin, Lincoln Center, Fordham Law School, Jason Felch, Irina Tarsis, Elizabeth Varner, Salam al-Kuntar, Events, David D’Arcy, Monuments Fine Arts and Archives Program, Holocaust Restitution and Claims Practicum, National Art Museum of Sport, World War II, Monica Dugot, Anne Rothfeld, Portrait of Wally, Marc Masurovsky, Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservat, Corine Wegener, Laurie W. Rush, James McAndrew