107 Groups of Meissen Porcelain Items Back to Heirs of Jewish Owner

THE HAGUE, 23 December 2019 - The Restitutions Committee has advised the Minister of Education, Culture and Science to restitute 107 groups of Meissen porcelain items to the heirs of the original German owner Franz Oppenheimer. The Minister has accepted this advice.

The 107 groups of Meissen porcelain items were returned after the Second World War and were taken into the custody of the Dutch State with the express instruction to return them – if possible – to the rightful claimants or their heirs. The objects are still on loan to the Rijksmuseum, the Kunstmuseum Den Haag and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

In 2015 heirs of Franz Oppenheimer asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Science to restitute the items of Meissen porcelain. The Minister asked the Restitutions Committee to advise her with regard to this application.

The Restitutions Committee concluded on the basis of the investigation conducted in this case that the 107 groups of Meissen porcelain items had been the property Franz Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was persecuted by the Nazis in Germany because of his Jewish descent and he fled to Austria in December 1936. After the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in March 1938 Oppenheimer had to flee once again. It can be concluded from the available information that Oppenheimer sold the 107 groups of Meissen porcelain items between the beginning of 1936 and March 1938. The Restitutions Committee came to the conclusion that Oppenheimer lost possession of the porcelain involuntarily as a result of circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime. The Committee therefore advised the Minister on these grounds to restitute the 107 groups of Meissen porcelain items to the heirs of Franz Oppenheimer.

The full text of the recommendation is on the Restitutions Committee's website through the link on the bottom of this page.

About the Restitutions Committee

The Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War advises about claims to items of cultural value lost during the Nazi period, also referred to as looted art. Since the Restitutions Committee was established in 2002 it has issued 161 recommendations and opinions and has had 182 claims submitted to it. The Committee is chaired by Fred Hammerstein.

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