Connect to share and comment

Nazi-seized poster art must be returned to Jewish heir

A Jewish man has won his legal battle against a Berlin museum to get back thousands of rare posters stolen from his father by the Nazis in 1938 for a museum for Joseph Goebbels.

Nazi museum posters germany 2012 03 16Enlarge
Gestapo officials seized the posters, which include advertisements for cabarets, films and exhibitions, as well as political propaganda, in 1938, saying Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels wanted them for a new museum. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

A Jewish man has won his battle against a German museum to get back thousands of rare posters stolen from his father by the Nazis in 1938.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe ruled Friday that Peter Sachs, 71, who now lives in the US, is the rightful owner of the posters, bringing to an end some seven years of litigation.

Sachs’ father Hans, who fled to the US after being held in a concentration camp, is believed to have collected up to 12,500 rare late 19th century posters, only 4,529 of which have been identified, according to the BBC.

More from GlobalPost: Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld running for German presidency

Gestapo officials seized the posters, which include advertisements for cabarets, films and exhibitions, as well as political propaganda, in 1938, saying Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels wanted them for a new museum, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reports.

The posters came into the possession of the German Historical Museum after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Sachs only became aware of the collection in 2005 and immediately initiated proceedings to secure their return.

The museum, which had only displayed a few posters at any one time and argued that the collection was invaluable to researchers, said Friday it “accepts the ruling.”

In an email to the Associated Press following the ruling, Peter Sachs said: “I can’t describe what this means to me on a personal level. It feels like vindication for my father, a final recognition of the life he lost and never got back.”

Sachs attorney in Germany said his client hoped to find a new home for the collection where they can be displayed to a wider public. 

More from GlobalPost: Anne Frank waxwork unveiled at Berlin Madame Tussauds

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/germany/120316/nazi-seized-poster-art-must-be-returned-jewish-heir