Dec 18, 2013
By Michael Kramer
The German government says it will not return two paintings once owned by a Jewish businessman who was persecuted by the Nazis.
Germany’s Finance Ministry says it won’t hand back the 18th-century paintings by Bernardo Bellotto to the heirs of Max Emden because he had already fled to Switzerland when he sold them.
The ministry says this means the paintings couldn’t be considered “forced sales.”
Emden’s heirs say their grandfather sold the paintings because he needed money – after his businesses in Germany were seized by the Nazis.
Germany’s refusal comes as the city of Cologne announced that it would return 11 other art works to the heirs of Jewish collectors – who sold them before fleeing Nazi Germany.