Brief Amicus Curiae

Brief Amicus Curiae on Behalf of The American Jewish Committee, Omer Bartov, Michael Bazyler, Haim Beliak, Michael Berenbaum, Donald Burris, Judy Chicago, Richard Falk, Hector Feliciano, Eugene Fisher, Irving Greenberg, Peter Hayes, Douglas and Marjorie Kinsey, Douglas Kmiec, Marcia Sachs Littell, Hubert Locke, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Bruce Pauley, John Pawlikowski, Carol Rittner, John Roth, Randol Schoenberg, William Shulman, Stephen Smith, Alan Steinweis, Melvyn Weiss, Donald Woodman, and Jonathan Zatlin, in Support of Plaintiffs-Respondents.

On December 16, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016 (the “HEAR Act”), which passed both the House and Senate unanimously. Amici have particular interests implicated by the HEAR Act, which are set forth in Appendix A. None of the Amici has any financial or economic interest in the outcome of this appeal.
Amici underscore one specific way in which Nazis victimized Jews: robbery on a grand scale. The grand larceny should not be overlooked merely because mass murder was the foulest crime perpetrated by the Nazi conspirators…

…In Part I of the brief, we suggest that the HEAR Act does exactly what the Washington Principles and the Terezín Declaration failed to accomplish: provide binding legal language enabling fair and just resolution of conflicts over Recovery of Holocaust Expropriated Art. In Part II, we explain how the HEAR Act intersects with various technical defenses in this case focused on two pieces of art that were indisputably the property of Fritz Grunbaum.

Full Amicus Brief

Watch the lecture by Raymond Dowd at Boston College Law School! Nazi Art Looting – Stolen Art in US Museums and How It Got There

Girl With Black Hair –  Stolen From Fritz Grunbaum, Now At Oberlin College

Here is a link to a lecture at the Boston College School of Law on April 22, 2010.  The URL is http://echo360.bc.edu:8080/ess/echo/presentation/20714145-29f6-4eb8-b72e-aadd6e794ad1.

Assoc. Dean Filippa Anzalone and her terrific Art Law students gave Raymond Dowd  a great welcome and asked lots of tough questions.  Dean Anzalone wrotea lovely letter and kindly gave permission to reprint:

Dear Ray:

Thank you again for your wonderful presentation for the Art Law Seminar on April 22nd. The students and other attendees were literally on the edge of their seats as they listened to your lawyerly and thorough discussion. Your excellent lecture, coupled with your slides made the presentation on Bakalar v. Vavra and Egon Schiele’s Dead City: Stolen art from Europe (1933-1945) in American museums and how it got there one of the most memorable classes of the semester. In fact, we discussed your presentation at the following week’s class and it was difficult to turn the discussion back to the topic scheduled for that week!

The thoroughness with which you presented the diabolically methodical process that the Third Reich used to despoil Jews of their property kept the class riveted during your lecture. The horror of the Nazi art looting came to life for the audience as you presented the evidentiary issues and the legal problems associated with restitution litigation for holocaust victims and families.

Since your presentation, many of the attendees have contacted me and commented on how astonished they were after your lecture. It is chilling to realize how methodical and relentless the Third Reich was in their pillaging operations. The cold, non-violent theft of Jewish property, including land, art and household objects, and even life insurance policies , by the Nazis is harrowing to say the least. Many of the attendees have told me that they appreciated understanding the issues of the Nazi thefts from your very carefully articulated legal perspective.

Your program was a real success; superseded only by your generosity of time and energy. We thank you for the printed copies of your slides, and your great kindness in talking with students and answering questions. We want you to know how very much your work was appreciated by me, my class, and the Boston College Law community. Thank you so much, Ray. May your good work continue and prosper.

Peace,

Filippa Marullo Anzalone
Professor of Law
Associate Dean for Library & Technology Services