The heirs of Hungarian banker Baron Mor Lipot Herzog are suing Hungary for the return of art taken by the Nazis. Baron Herzog was one of the most important collectors of art in Europe in the early 20th century. Read more in the NYT article, July 28, 2010.
After having watched the film, The Rape of Europa, it’s very interesting to see that even today, works of art art are still missing or just now being claimed by descendants of previous owners. I’m very excited to see the film, Monument Men, that George Clooney is directing and starring in which will be the story of art professors, historians, and other influential men from the art community who helped return the art from the Nazis.
This article is very telling of the hardships the Jewish population of Eastern Europe still have to go through as a result of the Holocaust and the rhetoric Hitler fed to the people against the Jews. These paintings are by some of the most prominent artists ever, and deserve to be with the rightful owners. But, even though the family deserves to own them, I can see why museums and galleries would not want to give them up. Paintings done by such artists as van Dyck, Velazquez, and Monet are priceless. They will never be reproduced and have great value. Being said, the paintings were wrongfully taken from the family in the first place, so I believe the Hungarian government should do the right thing in returning them now.
It was slightly frustrating to read about Hungary’s lack of cooperation. The Herzog family suffered an injustice and Hungary is unwilling to cooperate to rectify that. When Hungarian officials were asked why they were holding onto the art, they responded with a reason that essentially blamed the courts. They stated they were merely following courts orders. To me, it seems like that is just an excuse and a way for them to place the blame on someone else. They didn’t seem to want to take responsibility for their actions or their country’s actions.
It was interesting to read about how Hungary is one of the only countries refusing to give the Herzog family and other famlies the art back. I understand where both Hungary and the Herzog family are coming from because both feel that the art is rightful theirs. I think that art, especially the works that Hungary has from many famous artists, belong in a museum for the public to see and appreicate, so I do think that if either the family or Hungary end of getting the art that it should stay in a museum for everyone to enjoy. I also liked seeing that many other countries have returned the art the Nazis stole to the families from which they were taken from.
It’s a little upsetting that Hungary is not cooperating with the Herzog family. These pieces of art are important to the family and they even tried to compromise with the government for the release of the paintings but they still said no. I believe that they should give the paintings back since it was taken away due to war and since the war has been over and they still haven’t returned the pieces is a little frustrating.
It’s sad that Hungary won’t return the art to the Herzog family. It was terrible to begin with that paintings were stolen during WWII, but to not be returned after all this time is just frustrating. These paintings mean something to these families and although they may end up in private collections, which could mean they won’t be seen by the public again for a long time, it still isn’t right to keep them when they never belonged to Hungary. It’s always frustrating to see these lawsuits and battles over these paintings and to see the families keep losing or having to go through a lot of hoops just to get them back. The paintings were stolen to begin with, and the right thing to do would be to return them. It’s kind of like a physical piece these families can still touch so they can connect with the past on a level most of us probably will never know.
It is disappointing to hear of Holocaust atrocities being continued to this day, or at least, to 2010. I think that Hungary is definitely in the wrong in this case, seeing that most of the art in their collection was illegally obtained. The stealing of art during WWII was a side of the war that was greatly downplayed until recent years. A film that was mentioned in a previous comment, Monuments Men, did a great job in spreading awareness about the Hitler’s terrible actions. His wrong is something that still needs to be rectified, a fact that is evident in this article. I understand Hungary’s reluctance to let go of such priceless art, the right to ownership belongs to the family from which it was stolen. Hopefully Hungary has seen the error in their ways since the release of this article and have restored the art to it’s rightful owners.
It is discouraging to hear that, even though the Holocaust occurred 70 years ago, the Hungarian courts are denying the owner’s right to have their family’s artwork returned. While the art is famous and being safely housed in museums for visitors to enjoy, it is wrong of the Hungarian courts to refuse to return the artwork to its’ rightful owners. With the support of many United States’ Congressmen, I am surprised that the Hungarian courts are unwilling to compromise with the Herzog family’s offer to spilt the works of art with the Hungarian government. However, if the Herzog family receives the artwork back, I hope that the art will be placed in a museum so they can be studied and many people will be able to enjoy those pieces of history.