Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



In this Article we have attempted to provide an overview of the Nazi-looted art cases in their historical context. We have based the discussion on our knowledge and experience in litigating art law cases, particularly cases involving Nazi art looting, post-war restitution, and recent developments in art law.

Any discussion of the legal implications of crimes committed by Nazi authorities during the Holocaust must begin with an obvious disclaimer. While bringing cases to recover artwork stolen by Nazi authorities is self-evidently a worthy pursuit, and while our firm is very proud to be intensively involved in this effort, we cannot even imagine the extent of the atrocities suffered by our clients' ancestors (and our own) as a result of the high crimes committed against them. It is nonetheless humbly gratifying to work in this area of the law and to think that, in some small way, we are bringing comfort to the victims and their families. In the case of Mrs. Altmann, a vibrant and fascinating 89-year-old woman who vividly recalls the specific location in her uncle and aunt's residence of each Klimt masterpiece she is seeking to recover, this sense of personal gratification is particularly high.