19 November 2018: Lawsuit filed by heir of Firma D. Katz in South Carolina to recover 143 paintings from the Netherlands

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South Carolina resident Bruce Berg, a grandson of the late Benjamin Katz and a great-nephew of the late Nathan Katz, brothers and partners in the Firma D. Katz partnership in the Netherlands, has filed suit in the USA to recover 143 paintings in the possession of the Dutch government or Dutch museums. The paintings were sold or traded under duress by Firma D. Katz to representatives of the Nazi regime between mid-1940 and 1942, during the occupation of the Netherlands, according to the lawsuit. They were returned by the US to Holland at the end of the war for restitution to their original owners. The Dutch government and Restitutions Committee has repeatedly refused to return them despite the undisputable historical facts of duress facing Dutch Jews during the occupation, according to the lawsuit. The Restitution Committee relied on a faulty notion that sales by Jewish art dealers “in principle constituted ordinary sales” because the art trade’s objective is to sell art, ignoring the weight of history and evidence of duress endured by the Katz brothers. After the Committee’s arbitrary denial of the heirs’ claim for restitution, Mr. Berg was left with no choice but to pursue the paintings in United States court, the lawsuit asserts.To read the lawsuit click here.

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