A 17th-century chest owned by the Dutch state should be returned to the son of its former Jewish owner, who was forced to surrender it to the German authorities during Word War II, an official commission says.
The Restitution Commission advises the government on claims regarding art stolen by Nazi Germany during World War II. Dutch Culture Minister Halbe Zijlstra says he will heed the commission’s recommendation.
The beech chest was in the antique shop of a Jewish art dealer in The Hague at the outbreak of World War II, when it was confiscated by the Nazi authorities, who didn’t allow Jews to run a business. A Dutch merchant who was put in the charge of the antique collection sold the chest to a German. The chest is now at the Dutch defence ministry. Since the Jewish owner did not sell it of his own accord, his heir is entitled to recover it, the commission says. The Jewish art dealer went into hiding in 1943 and he and his family survived the war. The antique shop still exists and is now being run by his son.
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