|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Sunday, August 18, 2019
|Forty years after his death, Israel court to hear battle over Oskar Schindler papers|
Visitors walk past a portrait of Oskar Schindler at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, on March 4, 2015. Forty years after his death, a legal battle is playing out in Jerusalem over papers belonging to Oskar Schindler including personal copies of the lists of Jews he saved from the Holocaust. AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON.
By: Jonah Mandel
JERISALEM (AFP).- Forty years after his death, a legal battle is playing out in Jerusalem over documents belonging to Oskar Schindler including personal copies of the lists of Jews he saved from the Holocaust.
The case, which is expected to go to court next month, sheds unusual light on Schindler's personal life after he saved some 1,200 Jews from the Nazis during World War II, and the battles over his estate.
It also raises questions about the ownership rights of documents that once belonged to important figures like Schindler -- whose personal papers have in the past turned up at auction.
The case has been brought by Erika Rosenberg, an Argentinian woman, who is suing Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust museum over a suitcase containing thousands of Schindler's documents.
Rosenberg claims ownership of the documents by virtue of being the heir of the German industrialist's late wife, Emilie.
The suitcase and the documents have been held since 1999 by Yad Vashem, which insists they never belonged to Emilie Schindler but were passed on by Oskar Schindler to a third party before his death.
During World War II, Schindler, an ethnic German from then-Czechoslovakia and a member of the Nazi party, persuaded German officers -- through bribes and other means -- to let him employ Jews at his factory, saving them from the death camps.
His story captured public attention decades later with Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar-winning movie "Schindler's List".
After the war, Schindler emigrated with his wife to Argentina, but in 1958 returned to Germany alone and died there in 1974. She remained his legal heir.
The suitcase containing Schindler's personal documents and pictures -- as well as a number of copies of the original lists of Jews he saved -- eventually turned up in the home of a friend, the late Annemarie Staehr.
Sales of Schindler papers
In her lawsuit, Rosenberg describes Staehr as Schindler's "lover" and claims she took it from his home after he died.
But Yad Vashem's legal team says their relationship was platonic and that Schindler had given her the suitcase and its contents as a gift.
According to the plaintiff, the suitcase was found at Staehr's house after she died and her children handed it over to a German newspaper and the German national archives in 1997.
When news of the discovery became public, Emilie Schindler took legal action in Germany to retrieve the suitcase and its contents.
But when a judge turned up to search the premises of the newspaper in 1999, he was told that they had already been sent to Yad Vashem, court documents show.
In 2001, Emilie Schindler returned to Germany where she died, childless.
In the last decade of her life, Emilie Schindler became close to Rosenberg, her biographer, and designated her as heir to her estate.
Yad Vashem claims that Rosenberg is a "serial suer" who is seeking to exploit Schindler's memory for her personal gain.
Documents related to Schindler have financial as well as historic value.
In 2013, the blueprints for an expansion of his wartime factory in Poland were sold for $63,426 and the same buyer paid $59,135 for a 1944 letter of introduction signed by Schindler.
None of the original lists of Jews comprising the "Schindler lists" remain, but historians believe seven copies were made of them shortly after World War II.
Only one such copy is currently in private hands. Every so often unsuccessful efforts are made to sell that document, most recently in 2013 with a starting price of $3 million.
Belong in the public domain
Naor Yair Maman, who represents Rosenberg, told AFP his client had tried to retrieve the documents informally for years, before finally resorting to legal action against Yad Vashem.
"I've no doubt that the issue of the ownership is very clear," he told AFP.
"Even if you believe that from the historical-academic perspective, it would be preferable that the documents remain in Yad Vashem, you have no right, whatsoever, to claim title to someone else's property," he said.
Rosenberg doesn't say in the suit what she wants to do with the documents.
Yad Vashem is a national institution which is tasked with gathering, examining and researching materials pertaining to The Holocaust.
It is venerated within Israel and a mandatory stop on the itinerary of visiting dignitaries.
The museum says the disputed documents "belong in the public domain".
Yad Vashem insists it is legally entitled to the documents and has not acted in an underhand manner, denying claims by Rosenberg's legal team that it had "grabbed" the suitcase.
"Yad Vashem holds the documents lawfully and has acted the whole time openly and publicly," it said in a statement to AFP, in which it expressed opposition to "trading in Holocaust-era documents".
"We will hold our debate with Rosenberg in court to ensure these documents do not reach private hands, of those who are not their legal owners and whose interests are unclear," it said.
The Jerusalem court will hold a preliminary hearing on the case on April 15, after mediation between the sides failed.
© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse
March 11, 2015
Day after his death, German architect Frei Otto wins prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize
Forty years after his death, Israel court to hear battle over Oskar Schindler papers
Tiny new fossil helps rewrite crab evolution, sheds light on Late Jurassic marine world
Spanish court blocks London auction of Columbus letter owned by the House of Alba
Simon C. Dickinson, Ltd. to offer painting by Vincent Van Gogh at TEFAF
Nearly 200 of Warhol's screen prints, paintings and drawings from the 1940s to the 1980s on view in Phoenix
'Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland' on view at the de Young
Thirty-five-year survey of over 180 drawings by Dale Chihuly on view at the Museum of Glass
Christie's New York announces the March Sale of American Art on March 25th
Exhibition presents the result of a unique collaboration between Nick Waplington and Alexander McQueen
Monument to England's footballing failure sells for £425,000 at Sotheby's London
Katie Nartonis joins Heritage Auctions as Consignment Director, 20th & 21st Century Design
Narrative works by 19th-century American artists shaping young nation's identity at Frist Center
New series of photographs by Laurie Simmons to premiere at the Jewish Museum
The Year of Sleepwalking: Art First opens exhibition featuring the work of Mimei Thompson
Koichi Yanagi Oriental Fine Arts hosts the Kokon Biannual '15 exhibition
Exhibition at New Orleans Museum of Art explores the art and civilization of the Kongo peoples
Rachel Adams named associate curator for UB Art Galleries
Natural Beauty in Japanese Art: An exhibition devoted to images of nature to open at Scholten Japanese Art
Exhibition of works by California artist Charles Arnoldi opens at Stremmel Gallery
Artwork by Grandma Moses, Pierre Renoir, and Charles Russell will be sold at Nadeau's
A touch of Hollywood glamour sparkles at Bonhams Decorative Arts Sale
PinchukArtCentre to present Ukraine at the 56th International Art Exposition la Biennale di Venezia
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Conservation reveals Wellington Collection work was painted by Titian's Workshop
2.- New dinosaur discovered after lying misidentified in university's vaults for over 30 years
3.- Unseen Texas Chainsaw Massacre outtakes and stills sold for a combined $26,880
4.- National gallery reveals conserved Italian altarpiece by Giovanni Martini da Udine
5.- London's Tate Modern evacuated after child falls, teen arrested
6.- Bavarian State Minister of the Arts restitutes nine works of art
7.- Boy thrown from London's Tate Modern is French tourist visiting UK
8.- Child thrown from London gallery has broken spine, legs and arm
9.- £10 million Turner masterpiece may leave British shores
10.- Tourists banned from sitting on Rome's Spanish Steps
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.