Heirs sue Germany over ‘stolen’ Nazi gold

The heirs of four Jewish art dealers have brought a case against the German government in the USA over the so-called “Guelph treasure”, a €260-million trove they say was confiscated by the Nazis in 1935.

Heirs sue Germany over 'stolen' Nazi gold
A 12th-Century reliquary from the Guelph treasure at the Berlin Bode-Museum. Photo: DPA

Boston lawyer Nicholas O'Donnell accuses the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) alongside the German government of having failed to respond to his clients' claims of ownership over the treasure, and has brought a case before a court in the US District of Columbia.

The heirs, Alan Philipp from London and Gerald Stiebel from the USA, say their ancestors were forced to sell the collection of medieval devotional objects in 1935 for an extremely low price.

“If Germany argues otherwise, it would still be explicitly endorsing [Hermann] Göring's plundering in 2015,” they wrote in the allegations, referring to Hitler's right-hand man and creator of the Gestapo secret police.

SPK president Hermann Parzinger said he was “astonished” by the case, saying that he believed years of research into the treasure's history would convince the American court.

Researchers from the SPK and the Limbach Commission into Nazi-stolen art, led by a former Supreme Court judge, declared in 2014 that there was no evidence the Guelph treasure was in fact confiscated.

Philipp and Stiebel call the investigation a “whitewash” in their suit, saying they felt like they were experiencing the same discrimination as their ancestors did during the Nazi period.

Markus Stötzel, a German lawyer acting on the pair's behalf, said that the records clearly show the art dealers were the legitimate owners of the treasure in 1935, having bought it for 7.5 million Reichsmarks in 1929.

He says that Philipp and Stiebel felt forced to bring the action in the USA, feeling that German civil law didn't offer a sufficient chance of making restitution for Nazi crimes.

SEE ALSO: Queries flood in over Nazi-era art hoard

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Norwegian World War 2 hero dies aged 99

Norwegian war veteran, writer and historian Ragnar Leif Ulstein has died at the age of 99.

Norwegian World War 2 hero dies aged 99
Photo: Depositphotos

News of Ulstein’s passing was given by his son Anders Ulstein to news agency NTB on Wednesday.

Born on April 19th, 1920 in Møre and Romsdal countr, Ulstein was a prominent figure in the Norwegian resistance during World War 2.

He was a lieutenant in the British military division Linge Company, also known as Norwegian Independent Company 1.

The division consisted of Norwegian volunteers who participated in British-led operations in Norway during the war as well as the organization and leadership of the Norwegian resistance.

Norway’s defence minister Frank Bakke-Jensen expressed his regret at the news and noted Ulstein was one of the last surviving witnesses of the period.

“He experienced some of the most dramatic episodes in Norwegian war history and was a highly decorated commander in the Linge Company,” Bakke-Jensen said to NTB.

Ulstein participated in several operations, including Operation Anklet, a raid on the Lofoten Islands in December 1941; and in a sabotage campaign against a supply and troop ship in the Nordgulen fjord in 1943.

After the war, he worked as a journalist, writer and scholar, and wrote several books on Norwegian participation in World War 2.

READ ALSO: Resistance hero Gunnar Sønsteby dies aged 94