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Nazi Warhol

November 13, 2013

Earlier this month, more than half a century after World War II, German police uncovered an impressively large Nazi art haul hidden behind a wall of old food cans in the flat of an 80-year-old former art collector. More than 1,400 artworks worth an estimated 1 billion euros were found, most of whose ownership is still being debated. These pNazi artaintings are believed to have been unlawfully confiscated by Nazis from Jewish residences as part of Hitler’s efforts to fill his Fuehrermuseum at Linz, Austria. Among this recently discovered collection, police found works by renowned artists such as Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse, prompting an outcry from Jewish groups who believe the collection should be made public immediately so that Holocaust victims may recover what had been taken from them. Experts believe that many lost artworks by famous artists are still to be recovered from cached Nazi collections, among them paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Raphael, and Rubens. This recent discovery—not the first of its kind and surely not the last—is part of the Nazis’ enduring legacy. While Europe is trying to put the memories of World War II behind it, the ongoing efforts to retrieve Nazi art hauls will continue to open up healing wounds.

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