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How Ex-Nazis Re-Stole Stolen Jewish Art

July 25 2016

By 1949, the U.S. government had placed over 10,000 works of art that had been looted by the Nazis in the hands of the government of Bavaria, which had been given the task of returning the items to their rightful owners. Now an investigation has concluded that a significant number of these works found their way back into the hands of former high-ranking members of the Nazi party. Abigail Cain writes:

As the investigation details, the government officials responsible for returning the looted work were, in fact, a series of men with ties to the Nazi party. The Bavarian state secretary transferred the authority to distribute the art to the director of the Bavarian State Paintings Collections, Eberhard Hanfstaengl, a cousin of Hitler’s secretary of foreign affairs, Ernst Hanfstaengl.

Later, Ernst Buchner—the curator of the Bavarian State Paintings Collections between 1932 and 1945—took the reins. This went against the express orders of [U.S. officials], who said to “deny him any position in any art-collection point in Germany at any point.” Buchner staffed his department with men of similar Nazi-era backgrounds. . . .

[T]he Bormanns, Görings, von Schirachs, Franks, and Streichers—all former high-ranking Nazi families—successfully negotiated for the return of looted art they had obtained at the peak of the Reich, often directly with state officials. Jewish families, on the other hand, struggled against “impossible hurdles” that kept them from recovering their property.

Read more at Artsy

More about: Art, Germany, History & Ideas, Holocaust restitution, Nazis, World War II

 

Hamas’s Dangerous Escalation in Gaza

June 22 2018

As Hamas has stepped up its attacks on communities near the Gaza Strip—using incendiary devices attached to kites and balloons—Israel has begun to retaliate more forcefully. In response, the terrorist group has begun firing rockets and mortars into Israel. Yoav Limor comments:

What made Wednesday’s rocket salvo different is that ‎unlike previous flare-ups on the border [since 2014], this time it ‎was Hamas operatives who fired at Israel, as opposed ‎to Islamic Jihad or the ‎rogue terrorist group in the coastal enclave. ‎Still, Hamas made sure the attack followed most of ‎the familiar “rules”—only [firing] at night and only at the ‎ communities in the vicinity of Gaza, and apparently while also ‎trying to minimize any casualties, to avoid further ‎escalation. ‎. . .

The first reason [for the shift in tactics] is Israel’s own change of policy ‎with regard to kite terrorism. It took Israel far ‎too long to define the incessant waves of incendiary ‎kites sent over the border as actionable acts of ‎terror, but once it did, the IDF began ‎systematically countering them, including firing ‎warning shots at terrorist kite cells and targeting ‎Hamas assets in Gaza in retaliation.‎

The second reason is Hamas’s own frustration and ‎distress in Gaza. Since the border-riot campaign was ‎launched on March 30, some 150 of its operatives ‎have been killed and the Israeli military has ‎carried out over 100 strikes on Hamas positions in ‎the coastal enclave, all while Hamas has nothing to ‎show for it. ‎In this situation, Hamas is searching for [some sort of victory] by declaring that “bombings will be ‎met with bombings,” as Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum ‎said Wednesday, in order to portray itself as defending Gaza from ‎Israel.‎ . . .

Hamas is banking on Israel opting against a military ‎campaign in Gaza at this time so as not to split its ‎focus from the [developments in Syria], but it is sorely ‎mistaken if it thinks Israel will simply contain ‎kite terrorism or shy away from action given the new ‎equation it has presented. ‎At some point, Israel’s patience will expire.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security