Press Release regarding the JUST Act

The Leon Fischer Trust for the Life and Work of Fritz Grünbaum calls on the U.S. State Department to report the lack of progress made by Austria and Germany on returning Holocaust-era assets taken from Nazi persecutees under the JUST ACT.

New York, November 21st, 2018 – The Leon Fischer Trust for the Life and Work of Fritz Grünbaum, represented by Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP, calls upon the United States Department of State, as required by the authority of the JUST (Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today) Act, signed into law by President Trump on May 9, 2018, to report to Congress the lack of progress the nations of Austria and Germany have made on returning Holocaust-era assets taken from Nazi persecutees.

The countries of Austria and Germany are in violation of The Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, which were endorsed by 44 countries and many U.S. museums at the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust-era Assets. The Principles commit signatories to publicizing looted art, resolving the merits of Nazi-era ownership disputes and encouraging owners to come forward by providing legal mechanisms or alternative dispute resolution to achieve “just and fair solutions.”

Austria’s continued possession of Fritz Grünbaum’s Dead City III, by the artist Egon Schiele, and Austria’s refusal to agree to a legal or alternative dispute resolution should be spotlighted in the State Department’s report to Congress. In the wake of the Washington Conference, Austria decided not to endorse the principle and instead to pass a restitution law that fails to provide even the most fundamental due process rights by denying claimants the basic right to participate as parties and by failing to provide review by an independent judiciary.

Germany for its part took the wonderful step of creating the publicly-available “” database to permit Holocaust victims and their descendants from around the world to report claims for free.  Incredibly, the German Lost Art Foundation recently removed not only Dead City III but also 62 other claims by the Fischer-Grünbaum Trust and Family of Fritz Grünbaum, who was a victim of the Dachau Concentration Camp, at the request of art dealers.

The Leon Fischer Trust for the Life and Work of Fritz Grünbaum is hopeful that the efforts of the State Department and the JUST Act will help finally to liberate works of art that have been called “the last prisoners of World War II”.

 The Fischer-Grünbaum Trust is represented by Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP. Partner Raymond Dowd will be attending the upcoming 20th anniversary conference in Berlin.




For more Information, contact Kieren Weisert, PR Associate at (606) 304-9278 or email Mr. Weisert at

On the Radio: Der Schiele-Fan

Der Streit um die Sammlung des Kabarettisten Fritz Grünbaum. Aus Anlass des 100.Todestages von Egon Schiele

Gestaltung: Ulrike Schmitzer

Im April 2018 fällte der Oberste Gerichtshof von New York ein umstrittenes Urteil: Er sprach den Nachfahren des Kabarettisten und Schauspielers Fritz Grünbaum zwei Werke bildender Kunst zu. Fritz Grünbaum war ein großer Kunstliebhaber, er besaß eine Sammlung mit 400 Werken, 80 davon stammten von Egon Schiele.

Diese Schiele- Sammlung beschäftigt die Gerichte seit mehr als 20 Jahren. Denn Fritz Grünbaum wurde 1938 ins KZ Dachau deportiert, wo er 1941 ermordet wurde. Seine Frau Lilly wurde 1942 in Maly Trostinec umgebracht. Was dann mit seiner Sammlung geschah, darüber streiten die Gerichte bis heute. Haben die Nazis sie geraubt oder war sie bei einer Spedition eingelagert?

Tatsache ist, dass Grünbaums Schwägerin in den 1950er Jahren insgesamt 72 Werke von Egon Schiele verkaufte. Stammten sie aus der Sammlung Grünbaum oder aus ihrer eigenen? War sie zum Verkauf berechtigt?
Der Kunstrückgabebeirat traf im Jahr 2015 eine Entscheidung für die Albertina: Fritz Grünbaums Sammlung wurde nicht entzogen, es handelt sich also nicht um NS-Raubkunst.

Ein Salzburger Nachtstudio von Ulrike Schmitzer über Egon Schiele, dessen Todestag sich am 31.10.2018 zum 100. Mal jährt, und über den Sammler Fritz Grünbaum und seine Erben.

In the News: Gruenbaum Heirs Take on an Art Foundation That Rights Nazi Wrongs

The German Lost Art Foundation operates a database of art likely looted by the Nazis, a list that has earned plaudits for helping to return works taken from Jews during the Holocaust.

But now the foundation is being criticized for removing from public view 63 works by the Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele, as a result of lobbying by several dealers who specialize in the artist. The dealers contend the works in question were never stolen.

The removal — a rare step — is being challenged by the heirs of a popular Viennese cabaret performer, Fritz Grünbaum, whose sizable art collection, including 81 Schieles, was inventoried by Nazi agents in 1938 after he had been sent to a concentration camp where he died.

20180827 Jewish Heirs Take on an Art Foundation That Rights Nazi Wrongs - The New York Times


Looted art remains in US Museum / Naziraubkunst bleibt in US Museum

In the end of July 2018, the final court decision was issued according to which two Cranach paintings stolen by Nazis for the Hermann-Göring-Collection remain in the American Norton Simon Museum and do not have to be returned to the heirs of the Dutch Goudstikker family.

In his lecture from 2015, Ray Dowd – the lawyer of Fritz Grünbaum’s heirs – deals with the problems that victims´ families can expect when making demands on American museums.

Ende Juli 2018 erging die finale Gerichtsentscheidung, wonach – von Nazis für die Sammlung Göring geraubte –  zwei Cranach Bilder im amerikanischen Norton Simon Museum verbleiben und nicht an die Erben der holländischen Familie Goudstikker restituiert werden müssen.

In seinem Vortrag aus dem Jahre 2015 beschäftigt sich Ray Dowd – der Anwalt der Erben von Fritz Grünbaum – mit den zu erwartenden Problemen der Opferfamilien bei Forderungen an amerikanischen Museen.