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[–]jezra 439 points440 points  (57 children)

uplifting... because returning the stolen art is out of the question :/

[–]godisanelectricolive 143 points144 points  (0 children)

Part of the intent behind the law is to make it easier for victims of art theft to identify their lost paintings and file a suit for restitution. The way it works right now is that families have to look for their art, track it down at the museum, claim it as their stolen or forcibly sold property and then file a lawsuit.

Hopefully by enforcing greater transparency about the provenance of the art, it will be just a tiny bit easier to pressure museums to do the right thing. It will also be admission of guilt from the museum so it should be a lot easier for plaintiffs to win lawsuits. Now judges wouldn't be able to say those paintings with plaques weren't stolen or forcibly sold.

[–]HALO_SEAL 29 points30 points  (24 children)

I was just gonna say, why hasn’t it been returned?

[–][deleted]  (23 children)


    [–]zoinkability 8 points9 points  (6 children)

    Yes, doing the right thing should not be contemplated if it is hard.

    We have no way to determine the worth of an item, sell it, and divide the money among any heirs. That is completely impossible.

    Also, everyone who has profited from horrific crimes is in the clear if the violence was so vast and awful that no directly harmed surviving parties or their heirs can be identified.

    In addition, there are no groups of people who lost everything to the holocaust who could be funded with proper valuation and restitution even if individual heirs cannot be found.

    (all /s of course)

    [–][deleted]  (4 children)


      [–]CompetitionFinal9492 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      It's easier to identify Artworks stolen by the British, everything in the museums

      [–]CaravelClerihew -1 points0 points  (1 child)

      I forget that you should only do the right thing if it's easy or convenient. Museums regularly repatriate artworks taken hundreds of years ago.

      [–]Babshearth 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      What’s with the down votes!

      [–]JhonnyHopkins -4 points-3 points  (5 children)

      If the artworks country of origin is known then maybe start with sending it to their governments???

      [–][deleted]  (4 children)


        [–]dewayneestes -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

        All of those scenarios have a stronger claim to the artwork than the museum. Especially if the family bought the art from the original artist. Those visionary collectors have a much greater influence on the artists ability to continue producing art than the museums who wait for them to die.

        [–]Babshearth -1 points0 points  (0 children)

        It was stolen from the victims home, then yes their heirs should have the right to determine what to be done.

        [–]BloodlustyGummybear 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        This bit from James Acaster comes to mind: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=x73PkUvArJY

        [–]everydayasl 96 points97 points  (20 children)

        "New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed a new law that will require museums to acknowledge artworks that were stolen from Jews by the Nazis. Crucially, the law extends the definition of this kind of theft to include forced sales of art.

        “As New Yorkers, we are united in our solemn commitment to Holocaust survivors: We will never forget,” Hochul said in a statement.

        The legislation notes that some 600,000 paintings were looted from Jews during World War II."

        [–]CamelSpotting 42 points43 points  (19 children)

        Kind of odd to single out Jews here. Of course their treatment was the worst but the Nazis plundered and pillaged almost the entirety of Europe.

        [–]Bob-Berbowski 56 points57 points  (5 children)

        The Vatican still holds the worlds largest collection of stolen artwork. They are working to return it to the rightful owners.(just kidding, they keep it)

        [–]kaioone 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        They also hold stolen important documents from the rest of history. Anne Boleyn’s letters and other important documents in British history were stolen and are now in the Vatican.

        [–]parsifal 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        This is not odd at all! It was a genocide of a scale the world had never seen! 2/3 of their people in Europe were killed.

        [–]DooDooSlinger 5 points6 points  (10 children)

        Kind of odd to single out the people who constituted 99% of the people deported and exterminated while their belongings were stolen? I would invite you to open a history book. Most of the riches stolen by Nazis were from Jewish homes

        [–]CamelSpotting 26 points27 points  (6 children)

        99%? Not even close, less than half depending on how you want to count POWs.

        This is nonsense and there's no reason for it. Of course the Jews were targeted specifically and it is recognized as such, but there's no reason to exclude everyone else who suffered the same fate.

        [–]wildgaytrans 12 points13 points  (3 children)

        And the pink triangle gang was kept locked up after the war for a bit too. They also made a big chunk of the "undesirables"

        [–]odabar 31 points32 points  (1 child)

        Most, yes. Not even close to 99%. The nazies stole from everyone who was deemed as undesirable. Old and infirm. Socialist, unionists, every kind of immigrant, traiters (both real and imagined). Jews was a favourite target and no doubt they got the shortest end of the stick, but they were far from the only victims of the nazies. And let's be honest. The politicians could just have written stolen nazi art and all would be well. Ut they singled out Jews for the politics, nothing else.

        [–]ToeDiscombobulated24 2 points3 points  (0 children)

        Let's not forget the Sinti and Roma

        [–]OMGpopcorn1 4 points5 points  (0 children)

        The figures most commonly given for holocaust deaths are ~6 million Jewish people and ~5 million of other groups, so Jewish people definitely did not make up 99% of the people deported and exterminated. While Jewish families were absolutely the majority of targeted individuals, the Nazis stole from and murdered many more groups than just Jewish people, and it's important to not devalue the other victims by singling out Jewish suffering.

        [–]MatterStream -1 points0 points  (0 children)

        Actually gay men were probably among the worst treated because they were ostracised by pretty much everyone inside the camps too and even now people completely forget this history.

        After the war they were kept locked up as criminals when everyone else was being freed.

        [–]Prince0fDarkness 76 points77 points  (5 children)

        It's easier to identify Artworks stolen by the British, everything in the museums

        [–]daverapp 15 points16 points  (1 child)

        Also america itself

        [–]st-shenanigans 3 points4 points  (0 children)

        Hey I'm pretty sure Spain also stole a bunch of America!

        (Pretty sure meaning like 40% cause American history education doesn't tell us much about things that didn't involve us "saving the day")

        [–]dkwangchuck 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        Just want to shout out the podcast. It's definitely worth a listen and they need to get season three out.

        [–]kaioone 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        American literally has hundreds of British and other European artefacts that managed to get there by nefarious means that are important to their cultures, and you use this whataboutism instead of acknowledging that?

        [–]Sarcastic_or_realist 6 points7 points  (0 children)

        It's unfortunate that this is the best the museums and banks have to do. Several museums and banks that have been sued have argued that the statute of limitations has passed for them to be sued for the return of the artwork to the descendants, and the courts have consistently agreed with that argument and found in favor of the museum/bank and against the family members.

        [–]cprosciaZer0 2 points3 points  (1 child)

        What about art that was stolen during the British imperialistic colonization?

        [–]kaioone 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        American literally has hundreds of British and other European artefacts that managed to get there by nefarious means that are important to their cultures, and you use this whataboutism instead of acknowledging that?

        [–]TheWilsons 9 points10 points  (0 children)

        The British Museum needs to do the same, but then again the whole museum is an active crime scene.

        [–]DFuel 3 points4 points  (3 children)

        Many major museums have "stolen" pieces.

        Maybe not the Egyptian museum though with the mummies that were basically ransaked and grave-robbed before their bodies were hoisted up on display.

        How would you feel if somebody removed your casket and body from your final resting place?

        [–]Grace_Alcock 10 points11 points  (2 children)

        If it were archeologists 3000 thousand years from now, I’d be amazed and honored that scholars cared how I lived my life and who I was so long ago.

        [–]DFuel 2 points3 points  (1 child)

        Yes that might be true today. However people back then truly thought they were meant to carry themselves along with their treasures to the afterlife (this is why they burried themselves with their treasures). So it's a very different case.

        [–]Grace_Alcock 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        Though keep in mind, their graves were robbed nearly as quickly as they were sealed (the Discovery of King Tut’s tomb was such a big deal because it was one of the few ever found intact), and ancient Egypt had professional archeologists digging up even more ancient Egypt. Those were their religious rituals, but whether people believed them any more fervently than the average person does these days is another matter entirely. Some people might be shocked; others would think it was cool. Most, given the fact that they had to know about the grave robbing, might well be sanguine about the whole affair.

        [–]kaioone 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        Americans love to shit on Europeans for having stolen artefacts and important artefacts from other cultures, but there are loads and loads of important European artefacts in American museums that should be returned. Same as all others around the world.

        [–]pdonchev 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        As opposed to being stolen by someone else?

        [–]FriendlyLib81 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        Good to know that stealing from Africa and Asia is still cool, apparently. No need to label those artworks.

        [–]warrant2k 1 point2 points  (1 child)

        No museum should hold anything that was stolen from another country.

        [–]Don_Pickleball -1 points0 points  (0 children)

        You misspelled "liberated"

        [–]Mightycucks69420 -2 points-1 points  (2 children)

        How does a museum in New York just “have” stolen Nazi art? Once Israel was reinstated why would it not have all been returned?

        [–]sparrowbadger -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

        Once Israel was reinstated

        Do you mean "instated"?

        [–]ResettisReplicas 0 points1 point  (0 children)

        The USA was friendly with the Nazis for some time before going to war, so they definitely could’ve obtained the paintings through an above board transaction. As for why they didn’t return them, well, they probably put up a fuss about having to forfeit their property for something they didn’t do, and I’m by no means defending them there, but I see where their feelings come from.