Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nazi Victim's Heirs Lose Patience With Sweden Over Looted Nolde

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The heirs of a Jewish businessman forced to flee Germany before World War II appealed to the Swedish government to hasten the return of a looted painting by Emil Nolde that now hangs in Stockholm's Moderna Museet art museum. Otto Nathan Deutsch fled to Amsterdam, in late 1938 or early 1939, leaving his possessions, according to the heirs' lawyer, David Rowland of Rowland & Petroff in New York. Deutsch never got his belongings back.

``Blumengarten (Utenwarf)'' (``Flowergarden (Utenwarf)''), painted in 1917, surfaced in Switzerland in 1967 and was sold at auction to the Swedish museum, Rowland said. He estimates its value at $4 million. The heirs first contacted the Moderna Museet in 2002. Though Rowland declined to identify them by name, he said the heirs include a Holocaust survivor who was on a train headed for Auschwitz in the last days of the war and was only saved by the Soviet army's advance into defeated Nazi Germany.

``We are still waiting for Sweden to return this looted art,'' Rowland said in a telephone interview from New York. ``What they are doing is not correct, and we are fed up.''


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