Jori Finkel focuses on what she calls the last big Holocaust restitution case is being heard in Federal court. This one is important because it concerns the remnants of Baron Mór Lipót Herzog’s once 2500-work strong collection that is being pursued by his great grandson, David De Csepel:
In 2010 De Csepel, representing some two dozen relatives, filed suit in federal court against the government of Hungary, three of its museums and a university, seeking the return of more than 40 artworks valued at $100 million.
“Hungary intends to fully engage and participate in all the legal proceedings and expects to be declared owner of all artworks,” said Thaddeus Stauber, a Los Angeles attorney representing the Hungarian government. At Wednesday’s court hearing, he is expected to argue that U.S. courts have no right to adjudicate the matter.
De Csepel’s attorneys dispute that, contending that Hungary can be sued in U.S. courts under conditions established by the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. In 2011, a federal judge agreed to let the suit proceed for all but 11 of the artworks already considered by Hungarian courts. Those courts ruled that Herzog’s descendants don’t have a legal claim to the artworks, as a settlement had already been made.
Southland Man Carries on Quest to Recover Art Stolen in Holocaust (Los Angeles Times)