Ronald Lauder called for a commission to actively address Germany’s artworks and the problems with Nazi appropriated works now lying in public museums:
Mr. Lauder said his proposed commission could be modeled after the commission set up by the Swiss government in 1996, when it agreed to open and reallocate Holocaust victims’ dormant bank assets. At the time, the Swiss parliament formed a nine-member Independent Commission of Experts that ultimately researched thousands of claims made by Holocaust heirs for money stored by Jewish war victims in Swiss bank vaults. The commission included experts from the U.S., Washington, Basel, Warsaw and Jerusalem working alongside Swiss bankers and lawyers. The Swiss government ultimately paid around $15 million to fund the commission before it reallocated all the money it could find and was disbanded in 2002.
Mr. Lauder said he thinks Germany’s Nazi-art scandal merits a similar approach and that the effort should be financed by the German government. In addition to himself, he suggested Germany reach out to a handful of Americans about potentially joining such a commission—including Stuart Eizenstat, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s special adviser on Holocaust issues; Wesley Fisher, head of research for the Claims Conference, another Jewish restitution organization; restitution lawyer Charles Goldstein of New York firm Herrick, Feinstein; and Marc Masurovsky, a longtime restitution researcher who serves on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the U.S.