(JTA) – Descendants of Jewish art collectors expressedÂ dismay that the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation will be allowedÂ to retain a medieval gold treasure worth an estimated $200 million.
The descendants of another heir say theyÂ will not give up the fight, however.
After about half a year of deliberations, the Limbach Commission — aÂ German advisory board for Holocaust-related claims — announcedÂ on March 20 that the “Guelph Collection” or “Welfenschatz,” which German
Jewish art dealers Zacharias Max Hackenbroch, Isaac Rosenbaum, SaemyÂ Rosenberg and Julius Falk Goldschmidt purchased in the 1920s and soldÂ in 1935, was not bought from them under duress and hence did not haveÂ to be returned to the heirs.
The claimants, their attorneys and other advocates had argued thatÂ virtually all purchases of valuable property from Jews under the NazisÂ were made under duress. And the fact that this sale was orchestratedÂ by Hitler’s deputy Reichsmarschall Herman Goering appeared toÂ strengthen their argument.
Meanwhile, an additional claimant, heirs of the Jewish jeweler HermannÂ Netter — who reportedly owned 25 percent of the treasure at the time it wasÂ sold in 1935 — announced that they would continue their fight for
restitution of the treasure.
Dresden-based attorney Sabine RudolphÂ told the German news agency dpa that, since the Netter heirs had been
excluded from the previous deliberation, they would not recognize theÂ commission’s decision.
A spokesperson for the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation told theÂ online Sudkurier newspaper that the descendants of Netter had declinedÂ to make a claim together with the other heirs, and noted that theÂ Limbach commission rejection of the claim expressly included theÂ descendants of other previous owners. But Rudolph said her clients hadÂ only just learned about the case in December.
Speaking to the Times of Israel, Markus Stoetzel and Mel Urbach -Â attorneys for the originl claimants — said they were shocked andÂ disappointed. They said they were analyzing the recommendations andÂ would discuss it with their clients.