The research done so far has revealed a number of cases in which the SNK recognised claims to recovered items and gave the rightful claimants the opportunity to "repur­chase" these items, which items were however never actually restituted. In some cases there is a letter from or on behalf of the owners saying that they have decided not to make use of the opportunity offered them in view of the conditions attached thereto, sometimes there are only indirect indications that the owners renounced their rights.

In some cases owners who initially did not have sufficient funds to repurchase their proper­ty, subsequently still tried to do so on the conditions stated on the earlier occasion. In 1958 the application of Wassermann was refused over the telephone following an opinion of the State Inspector that restitution would create a precedent (Subreport of October 2000, p. 109) and the applications of Busch were likewise refused in 1965 and in 1973, in 1965 among other things based on an opinion of the State Inspector that "it is desirable for the painting of Floris van Schooten to be retained in the possession of the State " (Subreport of October 2000, p. 71).

If the policy criterions are revised in conformity with the recommendation set forth in § 5, it is probable that in some of such cases the condition of repayment of the sales price would no longer apply. Where such a condition would still apply, it is advisable in accordance with the above recommendations to allow the rightful claimants an ample period, to be determined at a later stage, in which they may still repurchase the works of art in all those cases in which the owners were given the opportunity of repurchasing works of art and in which no formal settlement was made but the owners merely acquiesced in the fact that they were forced to decide not to use the opportunity offered by the SNK. For this purpose, moreover, the recommen­dations for price indexation and not passing on administration costs set forth in § 5 must also be taken into account.

Recommendation:

  • The Committee recommends that owners who did not use an earlier opportunity of repurchasing works of art be reafforded such opportunity, at any rate insofar