German art hoarder denies paintings stolen, wants them back

By REUTERS
November 17, 2013 17:29
1 minute read.

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BERLIN - The German recluse whose billion-dollar art hoard was seized by authorities has broken his silence to ask for the pictures back and to deny his father, an art dealer for Hitler, ever extorted any from Jewish owners.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, his first substantive comments since the mysterious trove was revealed two weeks ago, 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt recalled helping his father save some of the works from wartime Dresden and said the state had no right to impound treasures he called the love of his life.

Compared to the deaths of his father Hildebrand, his mother or his sister, "parting with my pictures was the most painful of all", Gurlitt told the magazine. "I haven't loved anything more than my pictures in my life ... But hopefully it will all be cleared up soon and I will finally get my pictures back."

Dismissing suggestions he might return some of the 1,406 paintings and drawings to survivors of Nazi persecution, the frail-looking Gurlitt insisted he inherited them legally and sold only an occasional masterpiece from his Munich apartment to cover medical and living expenses, as he claimed no pension.

"I'm giving nothing back willingly," he said.

Customs officers found him crossing the Swiss border by train in 2010 with a large sum in cash, eventually prompting a raid on his apartment early last year. Prosecutors confiscated works by Renaissance and Modernist masters, some long thought lost in the war, others hitherto undocumented.

The authorities valued at 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) a collection that includes works by Picasso, Otto Dix, Matisse, Chagall and German expressionists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

Related Content

Breaking news
July 19, 2018
White House rejects Putin proposal to interview U.S. citizens

By REUTERS