Press release RC 1.90-A


THE HAGUE - On 1 July 2009, the Restitutions Committee issued a partial recommendation concerning a claim to more than 200 objects that were said to have belonged to the former art dealership of Jewish brothers Nathan and Benjamin Katz. The Committee recommended against the restitution of 31 of the works, it not being proved with a high degree of probability that the art dealership was indeed the owner of the works during the occupation.

The request for the restitution of more than 200 objects, which are now part of the Netherlands Art Property Collection, was submitted at the end of March 2007 by Nathan Katz's daughter. The works of art were said to have belonged to the Dieren-based art dealership D. Katz, which had been owned by Nathan Katz and Benjamin Katz since 1930.

However, an investigation into the ownership of the works showed for more than 30 of them that there was insufficient evidence to prove that they were owned by the Katz brothers' art dealership during the occupation, by their legal successors during the war or by one of the brothers themselves. While it appeared that some of the claimed works did belong to the dealership's trading stock in the 1930s, they had been sold on before the war. Particular objects were also held by Katz on consignment for other owners. In other cases, there was too much contradictory information to conclude that it has been proved with a high degree of probability that Katz owned the works during the occupation. 

The applicant was also unable to provide additional information during the procedure that  suggested ownership of the works during the war years. The question of whether loss of the works was involuntary was therefore irrelevant in this case. To prevent delay, the Committee decided to separate the 31 works from the rest of the case, all the more so because a number of them are also involved in other claims. The Committee has recommended against the restitution of these 31 works. 

The Restitutions Committee
Since January 2002, the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War, or Restitutions Committee, has provided recommendations to the Minister for Education, Culture and Science regarding 75 claims to items of cultural value in the possession of the national government. In addition, the Committee has also issued three binding recommendations concerning disputes between two parties over an item of cultural value not in the possession of the national government. Since 1 January 2009, the Committee has been under the chairmanship of Willibrord Davids.

More information:
For more information, please contact Evelien Campfens, secretary/rapporteur of the Restitutions Committee on +31(0)70 376 59 92.

Relevant recommendations: