Stolen Art, Stolen Lives (Randyjw; November 14, 2016)
Echoes of the Holocaust, once fading into time, are returning with a vengeance in the passage of laws against the Jews reminiscent of those enacted in Nuremberg during the Nazi era. The European Union, in an effort to single out only the Jewish people, recently made it mandatory to require labels on Israeli exports which were produced in the heartland of Israel known as Judea and Samaria (check your Old Testament — they’re in there), and which others erroneously refer to as the “West Bank”, so that consumers will be able to more easily enact a boycott to avoid their purchase. The E.U. didn’t make it mandatory for anybody else but Israel, and there are certainly other lands where disputed conflicts exist, like Tibet, or Kashmir, or any number of other places — but, no… only against the Jews have they done this.
The Socialist/Communist/Marxist leanings of the Leftist teachers who took things a bit too far during the heydays of the ’60’s with their communal living, uninhibited personal contact, and experimentation really took hold as they spread their ideals and supposed utopian idealogy to the young minds at universities across the U.S. Along the way, anti-Semitism gained a foothold in the professions of education, and its felt impact, formerly thinly-veiled, has now burgeoned into outright blatant manifestation. In the myriads of student associations on campuses across the nation, they have voted to promote Boycott/Divestment/Sanction (BDS) actions against Jewish people, preventing the free flow of academic cultural exchanges, such as visiting professorships, scientific cross-teaching arrangements, and other matters. This is reminiscent of when Europe began denying education to the Jews, removing Jewish teachers from their positions and Jewish students from the classroom. In Vienna during those times, Albert Einstein was even fired from his post!
The permissiveness of the society to have let this happen indicates how degraded it is and how weak it has become. In less than a decade, the choice of the current administration to have adopted a self-hating posture of insignificance has allowed the nations with stronger stances to walk all over us and to treat us as doormats, in the way we have shown them we wish to be treated. Race relations during this time have suddenly turned extremely violent, with seething masses of humanity angered at the lack of happiness in their lives, since the economy, as well as its possible rejuvenation, has also been curtailed by design, to bring the nation to subservience on its knees. Hmmmmm, I wonder where that imagery comes from?
The Jewish people are not responsible for this; the Democratic administration is. Yet, unreasonable people need to take out their anger on other people, and the minority Jews seem to them to be a good choice (I have news for you…).
Anti-Semitism within the United Nations is not a new phenomenon. It’s predecessor, the League of Nations, while still anti-Semitic, managed to recognize the Jewish state of Israel while still complete with its both halves of Palestine (Israel/Jordan) as the national home of the Jews. Yet, the United Nations, with its substantial number of Arab and Muslim-dominated countries and their sympathizers outnumber the singular Jewish nation and obsessively pass resolution after resolution condemning Israel, to the exclusion of working on many other matters of concern in the world.
Recently, the branch of the United Nations, known as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), tasked with the responsibility to identify, preserve, and maintain the sites of global significance to the world, has declared that sites holy to the Jewish people for thousands of years, with ties going back to the patriarchs of our religion, not only do not belong to us, but are being given to the Arabs (who have appropriated the name from OUR Bible (not theirs) of our ancient nemesis, the Philistines), instead. It is being declared the Arab’s heritage. These false pretenders are stealing our heritage and our land by impersonating the Jews and appropriating everything that is ours. This is identity theft and they are identity thieves.
In previous millenia, both Christians and Muslims have appropriated Jewish buildings and converted the structures for their own use. It was a particularly common practice of Muslim rule to specifically seek out these structures to purposely change them, and that is why Muslims have always chosen to build on top of our holy structures. There is no reason that the al-Aqsa (silver-domed) mosque, nor the Dome of the Rock (gold-domed) is situated on the Temple Mount in and of itself, except that the place most revered by the Jewish people was also there, because the Jewish Temples had been there. The entire Temple Mount, and not only that, but the Wailing Wall which restrains the earth upon which the Mount sits and is the place where Jewish prayers have been uttered since the last Temple’s destruction, has now also been declared the possession of the Arabs.
The place where furtive notes of prayer are folded and tucked into its cracks; the place of even Christian pilgrimage in the past centuries; the Kotel; the Kotel Ha’Maariv; the Western Wall — they somehow are pretending that this is the Arabs’ and belongs to their heritage. Yes, they actually voted this outrage into reality, if that doesn’t explain just how anti-Semitic they are.
Prior to this intransigence, a few months ago they also ruled that several other of our extremely holy sites, those most associated to the Jewish people and our association with the land, were not actually ours, but are the Arabs’, instead. These are: 1) the tomb of Rachel (which is my Hebrew name), who is the wife of Jacob and the sister of Leah, and who died near Bethlehem on the way to Efrat after giving birth to Binyamin (changed from BenOni). She is one of the Matriarchs! 2) the tomb of Joseph. He was one of our Patriarchs. He was the Grand Vizier of Egypt, who saved the Egyptians and the Jews from starvation during the seven years of drought. We had been slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years, until finally Moses led us out of there. It was the Exodus. This Exodus we were commanded by G-d to celebrate every year, and we have done so since that time. The festival is known as Passover. Joseph had requested that his bones after his death not remain in Egypt and should be removed from there and brought to Israel, which they were. And now this tomb ascribed as his has been given to our mortal enemies, who only wish us dead. 3) the cave of Machpelah. This is the burial tomb of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebeccah, Jacob and Leah. The cave and surrounding field and trees were purchased by Abraham for four hundred shekels of the children of Chet from Ephron the Hitti — and now this is being given to the Arabs. The cave is in Chevron/Shechem, which is ironically also being claimed as the false, unofficial location termed as “West Bank”.
To be a Jew, according to the world’s anti-Semites, is an odious thing; but, nevertheless, everyone pretends they are the new Jews: suddenly-found long-lost tribes; liberation and replacement theologists; the new Jerusalem; the old guard.
Most precious to us is a good name — this means a good reputation. It also means being of good character, a stalwart individual, a mensch, and observant of our Jewish heritage, as well as our traditions. Besides that people want to steal our history and land from us, they also want to steal everything we’ve acquired along the way. Everything they can get to increase their fortunes and to diminish ours is considered by them as fair game. Trash our books and torch our synagogues to eradicate the physical presence of our existence. Our bodies and lives — taken from the heaps where we were piled like refuse from our deaths in the Zyklon-B gas showers of the concentration camps and thrown into the crematoria of the Nazi ovens.
In enacting the Final Solution, Adolf Hitler’s mass-genocide extermination plan for the Jews, Hitler could have won World War II, if he had not been so intent on killing the Jews. Instead of utilizing the trains which were the main mode to move large quantities of war materiel needed for supplies to his troops on various fronts, he instead loaded train after train with the boxcars full of human materiel: we Jews. While six million of us perished, it was we, and the way that the L-rd would have it in the end, who brought Hitler to his bitter end, so rightly deserved.
The limited possessions we were allowed to take with us during these transports to the concentration camps were seized upon our arrival and sorted according to their contents. Piles of clothing. Piles of shoes. Suitcases. Later, these would become piles of people; piles of gold fillings from our teeth (which were melted down and reused in the mouths of Germans. Does that not just make you sick?).
Back home, there were homes and the possessions in them to distribute. Businesses and equipment. Bank accounts and safety deposit box valuables. Property deeds. Insurance contracts. Art, gold, silver, jewelry. Most of this was put back on trains and was redistributed among the German Reich officers. It has been a battle for the Jewish people to receive reparations for any of it. Eventually, some small recompense was eked out after much fight. If you don’t believe it, the trials of the Nazis at Nuremberg, available to watch on video, ought to give you an idea of the level of denial and obstinance with which the Nazis maintained their machiavellian evil.
News, from time to time, pops up about missing artwork and “ghost” Nazi trains. This arose not too long ago, when individuals thought they discovered a possible Nazi train in Poland, but this was quickly hushed out of the limelight. Today, a news article states that, for the first time, Germany is going to allow Jews to be on the Nazi looted artwork committee. There is great German reticence within its ranks to allow this, with one of its members stating publicly that they don’t want to do this, as the “only one” who would be “biased” on that panel would be the Jew! What chutzpah! Will the anti-Semitism never end?
Imagine my surprise when I found my family name amongst those whom Nazi collections of artwork have been stolen. Now, I can’t say that these artworks belong to any known relatives; for one, I’m adopted — although I’m still considered a child of my adoptive parents. Two, the name is listed with a variant spelling. This doesn’t mean that these can’t be relatives, as immigration officers could list names in varied ways, as could registration clerks in offices, or through inconsistencies in the methods by which our last names had been changed in going from ben and bat (son of, or daughter of) to ones more anglicized.
I didn’t know that this was the reference attached to a Google search bringing up my family name. It appeared in a small blurb of mild interest, but it was nagging at me to explore further, which I would hardly ever do. But I screwed up the courage to delve deeper into this odd occurence of my name, and discovered this artwork situation.
I made an inquiry into its source, and some time later, I received back some rather gut-wrenching information. The documents were declassified from papers held by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the name given to the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Before the Department of Homeland Security was created to consolidate disparate intelligence services and agencies, the Central Intelligence Agency was the group which handled all foreign/external matters, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handled all domestic/internal matters.
The first of the pages sent to me is a cover letter referencing the parameters of the search (my name), the records searched, and a synopsis of the findings. The rest of the documents contain a translated-to-English letter, but whether the originating language might have been French or German is not certain, and a list of art collections, in which my surname, or a similar one (hereinafter shortened to just “my” surname) is included.
The translated letter is dated to 1941, and lists a French address. The subject line lists this matter as regarding “Securing of art properties” and lists the enclosure: “7 lists”. A German word “DEVISENSCHUTZKOMMANDO” and “(Foreign Currency Control)” in parentheses below it appear at the top of the letter. As the signature page of the sender was not included (“need-to-know-basis”; no information with my surname on it in that page, so no page), I cannot tell which regime or administration this references. Is this the French one, as per its address? Is this from the French-occupied German one? Or is this from an Allied agency or other, handling some type of oversight?
Well, the war hadn’t yet ended. Additional comparison with historical happenstances would put this into better perspective. It could be an internal memo from one German to another, as it mostly seems to be. It could be from a German to a French office(r), of the so-called Vichy regime. It could be entirely French. Or not.
Here come the goosebumps; get your sweaters. A small paragraph opens the letter, preceding a synopsis of the seven art collections listed. Here is the verbatim text from this letter:
“Enclosed please find lists of art objects which I have put in safekeeping. According to a decision of the Reichsmarschall of the Greater German Reich, the art properties have already been taken over by the Einsatzstab Rosenberg. The following collections are included:”. The lists are then indexed, and I only have six names (the seventh apparently falling on the excluded page following).
In no particular order, leaving out identifying names for the sake of privacy, to me, as well as to others, here is where you see the targetting of Jews and the fanaticism to which the extent of the process of discovery of Jewish identity plays into the Nazi extermination of the Jews. The name followed by “Collection” is noted by them in their listing. Not all is included, but much I leave in, in their words:
1.. The collection belonged to the Jewess (first name/last name). She was formerly domiciled in Paris. She fled from there and is said to be staying in Nice.
2.. This collection is made up of the effects of the late (occupation/title/last name). (Initial last) was a Jew… His heirs are living in Paris.
3.. The owner of the collection was the Roumanian citizen (first name/last name). It was not possible to ascertain positively, whether he is a Jew. His actual residence could not be found out.
4.. The collection was owned by the Jewess (title/last name), who was domiciled in Paris. Her representative could not indicate her present residence.
5.. Up to this time the collection was in the possession of the Dutch citizen (first name/last name), who at present lives in Monaco. It could not be ascertained positively, whether (last name) is Jewish.
6.. The art objects were the property of the Jews (first name), (first name) and (first name) (last name), who are said to have resided in Holland, and who allegedly are now staying in un-occupied French territory.
My family name again appears in another listing, this time in a French-language listing. Only included is one page of this listing where my surname shows. The list shows the artist of each work; the work’s descriptive title; dimensions; and proprietors. It seems that the number at the top of the page references its page number, which is a double-digit already well-into several tens of numbers comprising this list. There are about one-and-one-half dozen artworks listed — most are attached to individual owners of collections, but two on this page are listed to different museums.
Therein lies the rub: provenance. Much of the artwork has seen the underground and the black market. Some have never seen the light of an honest, new day. They pass from hand-to-hand, with fake provenance listed, sold by dealers and others. Museums have fought Jewish owners, saying that they had acquired their works through art dealers/brokers. A chain of true sale is hard to find.
The sheet on top of the French list looks to date at 1947, but the copy of the stamp is kindof light. The stamp is from the French Republic, from the Commission of Artwork Recovery in the Ministry of National Education. It’s title, to the best I can figure out, is “List of Works of Art taken by the Germans and not recovered”.
When the Germans lost World War II, their documents became part of their surrender. Reams and reams of papers stuffed into boxes were confiscated and stored in miles upon miles of shelves in warehouses. Much of their contents contained information on the plan of extermination for the Jews and how this was to be carried out, as well as its affects. It also dealt with all the after-affects.
Jews have been trying to tell the world about their plight for years, but nobody would pretend to notice. It is said that reconnaissance planes had taken photos of the German concentration camps, but the U.S. and the world remained mum. Newspapers reported on it, but the Jews were met with inaction. They were denied entry to many lands, including into the U.S., and were turned back en-route from escaping the Nazis to their deaths back in Europe.
Afterwards, those who had escaped finally found a voice after several decades to begin to question the timeline of events and when knowledge had become known regarding events of the Holocaust. Answers were said to be not known, but we always knew that many things had been covered up.
Documents should have been released to us to ease our suffering and to help recoup our already devastating losses. They were said to be unknown. But, that’s not the reality, really. On the back page of the translated 1941 letter listing the collections is the reproduction stamp from our own archives. It only became declassified in 1984. Did they only just finish documenting, indexing, and translating the miles of shelving holding these records and just get to this 1941 document by 1984, or had they already completed this task many decades ago and deny the knowledge of its contents, to the Jews and to the world, obscuring the trace of artistic provenance in the information tightly kept in classified files for a further four decades, long past the provenance date of Jewish expiration?
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