Heirs of Alice Koch and Isaak Rosenbaum assert claims against the German Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation on the grounds of the loss of the Guelph Treasure.

Rosbach & Fremy 28 April 2022

In a letter dated April 27, 2022, the lawyers Jörg Rosbach and Lothar Fremy called on the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in the name of and on behalf of the legal successors of the Konsortium that acquired the Guelph Treasure in 1929 and sold it in 1935, have requested the foundation to find a fair and just solution in accordance with the 1998 Washington Principles.

In 2010, the foundation rejected claims filed by the legal successors of 3 Frankfurt art dealers, J. & S. Goldschmidt, I. Rosenbaum and Z. M. Hackenbroch, for the restitution of 42 works of art from the so-called Guelph Treasure. The Advisory Commission on the Restitution of Nazi-confiscated Cultural Property, in particular from Jewish ownership, which was called upon by the heirs of the art dealers and the foundation recommended that the works of art not be returned. A lawsuit filed by the heirs in the US for the return of the works of art was unsuccessful. The foundation and the commission were of the opinion that the heirs of the art dealers had not proven that the sale of the Guelph Treasure to the Prussian State in June 1935 was due to persecution measures a result by the National Socialist rulers.

The claims now asserted are made by the legal successors of the shareholder in the Konsortium who are not identical to the aforementioned claimants. They can provide evidence that the sale of the Guelph Treasure was directly caused by the persecution of their Jewish legal predecessors. 

Alice Koch, née Flersheim, was a shareholder in the Konsortium represented by the aforementioned art dealers. In 1935 she had decided to flee Germany because of the racial persecution against her and the jewelry store Robert Koch OHG since 1933. The National Socialist rulers allowed her to emigrate under the condition of payment of a "Reich Flight Tax" of 1,150,000.00 Reichsmark. As can be seen from the affidavit of Alice Koch's son-in-law, Willy Dreyfuss, this amount could only be raised through the sale of the Guelph Treasure. The treasure was sold well below the purchase price in order to be able to pay the discriminatory levy (Reich flight tax) imposed on them. Without paying the Reich flight tax, Ms. Koch would not have been able to escape from racial persecution in Germany.

The Reich flight tax notice and the affidavit by Willy Dreyfus, which prove the causal connection, were not available to the foundation and the commission when they made their decision. The decision made at that time must therefore be annulled. Our clients are willing to find a fair and just solution with the foundation.

Inquiries should be sent to the law firm Jörg Rosbach & Lothar Fremy, Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Str 4, 10407 Berlin, Tel.: 030 7 2807071, Email:

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