Rotterdam museum returns some antiques taken during WWII to Jewish family
The Goodman family lost eleven antique plates during the Second World War, which came to be in the possession of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. This week, the Rotterdam museum returned six of the plates to the Jewish family. The museum is keeping the other five, Trouw reports.
The family and the museum together decided on the distribution of the richly decorated Italian pottery plates from the 16th century. Together, the eleven plates are worth about 1.2 million euros.
Dutch museums return Nazi-looted art to Jewish families with some regularity, usually after advice from the Restitutions Committee. In this case, the Committee could not determine how the antique plates disappeared and where they were between 1933 and 1955. The Restitutions Committee, therefore, advised the museum and the family to discuss it with each other.
“We can give binding advice. We have that power,” Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Restitutions Committee, said to Trouw. “But it is much better if the parties come to an agreement, listen to each other’s stories.”
And that happened here. Simon Goodman flew in from Los Angeles to accept the returned antiques. “I feel elated. And proud of what my family had collected,” he said to Trouw. “It makes me feel like I can go back in time and change something.” When asked about the museum keeping five of the eleven plates, Goodman said: “It was the best solution in this case.”
Museum director Sjarel Ex told the newspaper that the museum finds it important to trace the dubious art in its collection. “We did a lot of research ourselves.” And while no evidence of Nazi robbery was found in this case, it was clear to Ex that all was not right with these even plates. He is therefore relieved that the museum and Goodman could reach this agreement.