Rijksmuseum can keep Jewish collection seized by Nazis

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The Rijksmuseum has been told it can keep a collection of more than 300 artworks confiscated from a Jewish collector during the second world war.

The collection, consisting mainly of mostly porcelain and silverware, belonged to the banker Robert May until it was seized by the Nazis in 1942.

May’s relatives had applied to the Restitutions Committee for the return of the 335 pieces, which were acquired by the Dutch government in 1944.

But the commission ruled that May had approved the sale at the time and wrote to the Rijsmuseum in 1946 to say he was “fully in agreement” with the outcome.

A spokesman for the museum said: “The collection is staying with us. That’s how it is.”

The Restitutions Committee was set up in 2002 to investigate claims for the return of cultural assets appropriated by the Nazis during the occupation of the Netherlands.

The committee comprises legal advisers, historians and art historians and makes independent recommendations to the secretary of state for education, culture and science.

So far it has issued advice in more than 100 cases.

Source: Het Parool: Rijksmuseum mag joodse kunst Robert May houden
Photo by jankie

See also: Restitutions committee (in English)
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