How Ex-Nazis Re-Stole Stolen Jewish Art

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

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas