NEW YORK, June 7, 2004 – LAWFUEL – The American Jewish Committee hailed
today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Republic of Austria v. Altmann in which
the court ruled lawsuits regarding Holocaust-era looted art and other stolen
property can be brought against foreign governments in U.S. courts.
AJC filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court supporting a family’s
attempt to recover artwork confiscated by the Nazis from the Republic of
Austria. At issue are six works of art by the well-known Austrian painter
Gustav Klimt that were seized from the estate of the Jewish businessman,
Ferdinand Bloch, and never returned to his heirs. The paintings are currently
housed at the state owned Austrian Gallery.
“AJC’s involvement in the case is part of our ongoing commitment to assist
Jewish victims and survivors of the Holocaust as well as their heirs with
restitution claims,” said Jeffrey P. Sinensky, AJC’s general counsel and
director of its domestic policy department.
AJC has played an integral role in advocating for rehabilitation and
resettlement programs, restitution, and the return of Jewish assets to
Holocaust survivors and their heirs even before the end of World War II. AJC
was a founding member of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against
Germany, and the Committee for Jewish Material Claims on Austria, which
resulted in a 1955 agreement providing for reparations to victims of Nazism in
In more recent years, AJC has been an official observer of the
International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims and an active
participant in the various discussions and negotiating efforts to secure the
restitution of former Jewish communal and private property.