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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Greed, Revenge, Art Theft's not the Solution !!

Artless blackmailers rewarded with a sting

Two men have been arrested in Athens on suspicion of blackmailing an art gallery owner over the return of three paintings that were stolen from her in March, police said yesterday.

Officers arrested a 50-year-old man, suspected of stealing the paintings from the gallery in the northern suburb of Kifissia, and a 65-year-old art dealer who contacted the gallery owner and offered to return the paintings for a finder’s fee of 10,000 euros.

The paintings, “Cyclist Wearing a Tie” by Alekos Fasianos and two works by Dimitris Mitaras titled “The Girl,” were worth some 60,000 euros in total.

The gallery owner informed the police and a sting operation was mounted. The three paintings have been returned to the gallery and police found another 17 paintings in the possession of the two suspects.

Theft of paintings worth £40,000

Two paintings by a leading Welsh artist which are together worth £40,000 have been stolen from a private art collection in the south of England.

Ed Povey's paintings, Minotaur and Hermaphrodite, above, and Rehearsal, below, were in storage in London and were about to be rehung in a Surrey mansion.

The artist, from Bangor in Gwynedd, said he believed the works may have been stolen to order.
Metropolitan Police are investigating and auction houses have been alerted.

Mr Povey said the two stolen paintings were being kept in a storage facility in North Acton, London while the mansion where they were destined to be hung was refurbished.

The art collector, who does not want to be identified, said this: "Is a sad loss of two special paintings.

"Both are quality art and I really hope that the thief appreciates just how good they are."

"We are not certain when they were taken, but the police were alerted on Tuesday, after the discovery was made," said Mr Povey.

"A piece of 17th Century French furniture was also taken."

Minotaur and Hermaphrodite, painted in 1996, is valued at £16,500 and was purchased by the owner in 1999. The second painting to be taken, Rehearsal, dates from 2003 and was commissioned by its owner. It is valued at £24,000.

"It's a great shame. Minotaur and Hermaphrodite was a great favourite of the owner and was due to be hung in his personal study in the mansion," said Mr Povey, who divides his time between north Wales and America.

He said the two paintings were included in more than 40 of his works in the large private art collection in Surrey, and they appeared to have been specifically targeted.

"Unfortunately, if they went into a private collection - there's very little chance of finding them," he said.

Mr Povey, who rose to fame in the 1970s for the many multi-storey murals which he painted in Wales, England and the Middle East, said the Metropolitan Police were investigating.

He also said the art department of Interpol had opened a file on the case, and Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonhams were watching in the hope of stopping the art thieves if they attempted to auction the paintings.

Art Hostage comments:

First of all, the Greek guys arrested were caught because of their sheer greed.

Instead of selling the stolen paintings within the underworld for around 2-3,000 euros, they got greedy and tried to sell them back to the owner for 10,000 euros.

Second, the theft from London, North Acton Storage Unit,

Remember the Moronic second hand car dealer who tried to sell the three paintings back to the insurers, and never collected the £50,000 reward offered because of his own stupidity?

Back story, below, read all three to get up to speed

Well, how about if this person and his colleague have started their revenge by organising this art theft, with others to follow?

How about as a sick follow up, this revengful pair organise a burglary at the Surrey Mansion where these paintings were destined for?

There is another 40 pictures, plus other fine art to steal.

These thieves have information about the destination, address of the Surrey mansion, perhaps because of an inside job, they now, thanks to this news report know there is another 40 valuable paintings sitting there waiting to be targeted.

However, the thieves may already know of the art in the Surrey mansion because of another type of inside job.

Shame Police will just issue a crime number and move on.

To be continued, watch this space !!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Disgusting, Dutch Anti-Semitism Rears its Ugly Head, Yet again, Times Up !!

4 heirs of Dutch Jew file claim to artworks

Just as the Dutch government was hoping to discourage more claims for restitution of art looted during World War II, the heirs of a Dutch Jewish art dealer have filed one of the largest claims to date of paintings now held in Dutch museums.

Four heirs of the dealer, Nathan Katz, who died in 1949, say that he was the rightful owner of more than 200 works of art recovered in Germany at the end of the war and handed over to the Dutch government.

The claimants are Katz's four children: Sybilla Goldstein-Katz, who lives in Florida, her brother, David, and her sisters Margaret and Eva, who live in Europe.

The details of the claimed restitution have not been made public, but Dutch museum directors said the works in question include paintings by 17th-century Dutch masters, among them Jan Steen, Gerard Dou, Jacob van Ruysdael and Nicolaas Maes.

Some works are by Flemish and Italian artists. Many are on display in some of the country's major museums, such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem.

The Ministry of Culture said the claim was filed in March this year for 227 items: 225 paintings and 2 tapestries. But Bob van het Klooster, a ministry spokesman, declined to provide details. The matter became known Friday when museum directors were notified of the claim.

The spokesman said the claim would now be studied by the Restitution Commission, a group of experts set up in 2001 to advise the government on the return of cultural property that was lost, sold or stolen after the Nazis invaded the Netherlands.

The application filed by the Katz heirs is even larger than the claim for 202 paintings made by the heirs of Jacques Goudstikker and finally resolved in favor of the heirs in 2006. But it also appears to be less clear cut.

Nathan Katz and his brother, Benjamin, had a gallery in Dieren, their hometown in the east of the country, and another in The Hague. They reportedly continued doing business after the German occupation of the Netherlands in May 1940. Researchers for the Restitution Commission said the brothers sold many works to Alois Miedl, who was buying art for Hermann Goering and other Nazi leaders.

Tina Talarchyk, the lawyer who is representing the Katz heirs, said that when Nathan and Benjamin Katz wanted to flee the Netherlands in early 1941, they traded several sets of paintings for visas, and in this way enabled 65 relatives to flee the Netherlands for eventual safety. One poignant detail, she said, was that Katz's mother, Lena Pelz Katz, was released from Westerbork, a Dutch concentration camp for Jews, in exchange for a Rembrandt painting through the intervention of Miedl.

Nathan Katz and his family left in February 1941, after he obtained German permission to take his family via Frankfurt to Switzerland.

Although the Dutch government in exile had decreed that citizens could not trade with the enemy, many Dutch art dealers, Jews and non-Jews, sold works to eager German collectors who circulated wish lists in the first few years of the war.

Dutch traditional painting was sought after because the Nazis did not consider it "degenerate art."

After the war, the Dutch government returned 28 paintings that the Katz brothers had claimed. Among them was a Rembrandt painting called "Portrait of a Man," which was believed to be used to buy the freedom of the Katzes' mother.

Evelien Campfens, a member of the Restitution Commission in The Hague, said the claim of the Katz heirs "will be a complex case, with many different aspects to it," adding, "It will take time."

She said the Katz brothers were important dealers involved in many transactions and many important paintings passed through their hands. The commission was notified of the claim in June, she said, and still has a large backload of other applications for restitutions.

Talarchyk, the lawyer, said the family discovered the Dutch restitution program several years ago while on a visit to the Netherlands. They filed for the return of one painting in 2003 as a test case and only received a reply in 2006. Their full claim was made in March to meet a government deadline of April 4.

They were assisted by Rudi Ekkart, a well-known Dutch art historian and director of the Agency for Origins Unknown, which has helped the government set standards for its restitution policy and compiled inventories of the thousands of cultural objects lost by their owners.

Art Hostage comments:

Enough already with disgusting Dutch Anti-Semitic rhetoric, just give back the unclean art that is dripping in the blood of 6 million innocent men women and children.

When the truth comes out, the Dutch will have to face the fact that they are the current handlers of the largest amount of looted, stolen, and purchased cheaply by threats, art in the whole world.

Yes it could even be larger than the spoils of war held in Russia !!

The whole subject of wartime looted and stolen art is something that needs to be addressed once and for all.

The sheer arrogance and elitist rhetoric coming from the Dutch govt reminds us of the dark days of German Sonderweg.

It is sad that the Dutch are lagging behind the Germans, who are slow enough on their own, to restore unclean art to the heirs of those who lost so much, in many cases their lives.

It must be said that aside from these high profile art loss cases there are many thousands of heirs that are still being deprived of their inheritance, both art and cash, stolen from the accounts of innocent victims of Nazi Germany, and it seems Nazi Netherlands, Himmler's Holland !!

However, I am certain there are many millions of honourable, decent, Dutch people who are not represented by the actions of the Elitist, resentful, prevaricating Dutch Government Officials.

We are led to believe that The Netherlands/Holland is a tolerant, peace loving, multi-cultural society, where justice is such, whereby even criminals are given many chances to repent and reform.

In light of that how about the Dutch people demand the dark days of Nazi collaboration be confined to history by gestures of goodwill, a speedy resolution to all restitution cases.

Failure to do so will inevitably lead to a slow drip drip affect of shame for past actions, and in the end all these contested artworks will be handed back.

Instead of acting in a re-active manner, as govt's seems to always do, act in a pro-active manner, thereby being able to control the publicity and turn a negative into a positive.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Catching Up, Fishy Diamonds, Stolen Horses Head, Not in the Bed. and Dutch Anti-Semitic Obstanence !!

The businesswoman, the £17m necklace and a criminal secret

Fish trader facing Italian jail sentence named as architect of Tokyo jewel robbery

Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent

Thursday September 20, 2007

The Guardian

In the fish markets of Peterhead, Dorothy Fasola was well-known as the Fiat-driving seafood exporter who drove a hard bargain. But the widowed businesswoman had a secret life: as the alleged mastermind of an audacious jewellery theft in Tokyo, and as an armed robber and counterfeiter on the run from Italian justice.
Yesterday, after more than a year fighting to remain in Britain, Fasola was told she was being sent back to Italy to serve the rest of a 12-year sentence for stealing jewellery and faking US banknotes. At a short hearing at Edinburgh sheriff court, she was taken down in handcuffs after Sheriff Douglas Allan upheld two European arrest warrants issued by Italian prosecutors.

She now faces nearly five years in a Milanese jail, but in the background lies a more dramatic case. Fasola, 57, has been named by Serbian prosecutors as architect of a conspiracy to steal £20m of jewels from the Le Supre-Diamant Couture De Maki shop in the Ginza district of Tokyo, including a necklace studded with 116 diamonds, known as the Comtesse de Vendôme, alone worth £17m.
None of the jewels has been recovered and Fasola, who evaded photographers outside court yesterday by covering her face with her scarf, denies involvement in the raid. But in Belgrade last Friday, the trial began of three Serbians accused of carrying out the theft on March 5 2004, and named in the court papers was the Italian-speaking businesswoman from Aberdeen.

The special prosecutor for organised crime in Belgrade accused Fasola of organising the robbery and, with her female co-accused Snezana Panajotivic, acting as a lookout from a cafe. Their male accomplices, Djordjije Rasovic and Aleksandar Radulovic, allegedly attacked the shop's staff with pepper spray and, after smashing through reinforced display cases, stole the Comtesse de Vendôme and 20 other pieces, including a diamond ring valued at £1m.

The two men allegedly fled on motorcycles before meeting Fasola and Panajotivic and - travelling as two separate couples - flying on fake Croatian and Czech passports to Paris, where they and the jewels disappeared. In 2005, Japanese police papers alleged Fasola had recruited the gang, after she was caught on CCTV cameras allegedly scouting out jewellery shops in the Japanese capital days before the theft.

"Serbian members of the gang were in charge of the dirty jobs, but the real person behind the whole operation was Fasola," said a Serbian prosecutor's spokesman in 2005. "She was very good at covering her tracks ... It was only thanks to security cameras that Japanese police have been able to trace her and to figure out the identity of the mysterious lady."

Fasola, who comes from a family of publicans, has never been charged. In a police search of her ivy-clad home in the Aberdeen suburb of Bucksburn by Grampian and Japanese detectives in 2004, officers seized a mobile phone and computer, but failed to find convincing evidence against her.

Fasola's lawyers said yesterday she was expected to appeal against deportation. They insist it is "unjust and oppressive" to extradite her, given she was convicted in her absence - a practice illegal in Britain - for "historic" offences dating back nearly 20 years.

After she moved to Italy in 1975 with her new husband, Luigi, who died in 1985, the couple allegedly peddled stolen jewellery on an Italian cable TV shopping channel. Two women claimed rings modelled on air by Fasola had been stolen from them - on one occasion by someone posing as a nun. In December 1983, their home was raided and police seized jewels and antiques. Neither was charged at the time.

In the late 1980s, Fasola was among 10 people arrested for counterfeiting $100 bills. In June 1989, a warehouse in Milan was raided by police as a printing press noisily churned out fake notes. A police source said at the time: "She is a very clever woman and played a key role but was always careful to stay just on the margins." Again, she escaped prosecution.

But in 1991, after she had taken over a jeweller's in Milan, she was arrested again. That March, she co-ordinated a gang which faked a robbery at the New Oroitalia jewellery workshop with the knowledge of the owner, who made a false insurance claim, saying 660kg of gold had been stolen.

One of the gang, Vincenzo Mannino, turned informer and said a "40-year-old Scottish beautiful woman" named Doris organised the theft and fraud. She was prosecuted and sentenced to five years. She appealed and was released early and then - while facing a further trial for allegedly using false credit cards - fled Italy. In her absence, a Milan court sentenced her to 12 years and two months for the armed robberies and counterfeiting - which, under the Italian system of granting amnesties or cutting sentences when a new president takes office, has been cut to four years, seven months.

Backstory: A career in fakery, fraud - and fish

Born in 1949 in Aberdeenshire, Dorothy May was the eldest daughter of a publican, Alexander Shirreffs, and his wife, Dorothy. She had two younger sisters, Sandie and Deborah, and a brother, Alex.

She left Aberdeen in 1970, aged 21, to work as a travel guide in Spain where she met a visiting Italian, Luigi Fasola. In 1975, the couple married and moved to Milan, where she was accused of involvement in jewellery robberies, an insurance fraud and of faking $100 banknotes. In 1998, she was sentenced to four years for robbery and was convicted twice, in 1995 and 2001, of counterfeiting currency.

Widowed in 1985, she arrived in Scotland with her daughter, Elena, in 2001 to set up a seafood export business in Peterhead, shipping salmon and shellfish to Italy and Serbia. Prosecutors in Milan allege she fled to avoid jail. In April 2006, after allegations about her alleged role in a £20m jewellery theft in Tokyo in 2004, Milan prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant linked to her conviction in absentia for setting up a fake gold bullion robbery. Further warrants were issued in November 2006 for the alleged counterfeiting.

She appeared in Edinburgh sheriff court to face extradition proceedings in June 2006. She is expected to appeal against extradition.

Jewish art dealers' heirs claim 227 paintings from the Netherlands

The legal heirs of the late Jewish art dealer Nathan Katz have filed a claim against Dutch museums for the return of 227 paintings which the Dutch State has permanently loaned to national museums.

On Friday, the Dutch Art Collections Institute (ICN) confirmed it had sent a confidential letter about the claim to the museums involved.

ICN controls all paintings that came into the possession of the Dutch state after World War II.

Among the paintings currently being claimed are seven works now on display in the Museum De Lakenhal and five from the Frans Hals Musuem in Haarlem.

It concerns prestigious works of art by painters Gerrit Dou, Nicolaes Berchem and Jacob Ruysdael amongst others.

On Friday, Education, Media and Culture Minister, Ronald Plasterk, requested advice about the Katz claim from the Dutch Restitution Committee.

This committee deals with works of art stolen during or immediately after World War II. The investigation will probably last several months.

The collection came into the possession of the Netherlands after the Dutch state took the paintings from Germany in 1945.

The paintings had been taken to Germany in 1940 when art dealer Nathan Katz was forced to sell a large collection of paintings to Alois Miedl, who was responsible for building an art collection for Adolf Hitler's Fuehrer Museum.

In 1945, the Dutch Art Collection Foundation, SNK, was asked to look after the paintings and if possible return them to their legal heirs.

Katz, who had fled to Switzerland in 1941 and survived the war, also filed a claim for the return of his paintings. But SNK rejected the claim, saying it was unfounded.

It is the second time the heirs of a Jewish art dealer have filed a claim to the Dutch state concerning such a collection of art.

In 2006, the Netherlands returned 202 paintings repossessed by the Dutch state after the Nazis took them from the late Jewish art dealer Nathan Goudstikker.

The decision to return the paintings came after several years of legal proceedings against the Dutch state by the Goudstikker heirs, during which both sides lost and appealed their cases.

The decision to return a substantial amount of the total number of paintings claimed by the Goudstikker heirs was ultimately a political one.

In what was clearly an attempt to prevent others from making new claims on works of art unilaterally taken by the Dutch in 1945, the Dutch government stressed in 2006 that the Goudstikker heirs did not have any legal right to the paintings.

The decision to return the paintings was made on moral grounds only, government officials added.

Macau Casino Mogul Buys Stolen Relic,
Way To Go, Stanley Ho !!

A Bronze Horse Head made for the zodiac fountain of the Summer Palace during the Qing dynasty is displayed during a press preview in Hong Kong in this Sept. 5, 2007 file photo. Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho has paid US$8.9 million for a bronze horse head stolen by French troops 147 years ago from China's imperial palace, auction house Sotheby's announced. The horse head was originally scheduled for auction Oct. 9 by its previous Taiwanese owner, but Ho pre-empted the sale with his offer, Sotheby's said in a statement seen Friday, Sept. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

By MIN LEE – 17 hours ago

HONG KONG (AP) — Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho has paid $8.9 million for a bronze horse head stolen by French troops 147 years ago from China's imperial palace and plans to donate it to a Chinese museum, Sotheby's auction house and a spokeswoman for Ho's company said.

The piece is one of 12 animal heads from the Chinese zodiac that formed part of an elaborate water clock fountain designed by Jesuit missionaries. The 12 heads marked time by spouting water.

The horse head was originally scheduled for auction Oct. 9 by its previous Taiwanese owner, but Ho pre-empted the sale with his offer, Sotheby's said in a statement issued Thursday.

"With this move, I hope to encourage more people to take part in preserving Chinese artifacts and to promote patriotism and nationalism," Ho was quoted as saying in the statement.

The Chinese government says the 12 heads were looted by British and French troops during the second Opium War in 1860 from Beijing's Yuan Ming Yuan, also known as the Old Summer Palace.

French soldiers took the horse head back to France where it was sold in the early 1860s. The piece resurfaced in 1989 when the Taiwanese collector bought it.

Ho is best known for his casino monopoly in the southern Chinese gambling enclave Macau. The Macau government ended his monopoly in 2002 and he now faces competition from Las Vegas casino operators.

Sotheby's said Ho will display the horse head at a Sotheby's auction preview in Hong Kong Oct. 4-8, then move it to his Grand Lisboa casino in Macau on Oct. 9. Janet Wong, a spokeswoman for Ho's company, Shun Tak Holdings, said Friday that Ho plans to eventually donate the bronze head to a Chinese museum but hasn't decided which one.

The $8.9 million price tag was in line with Sotheby's sale estimate. The unidentified Taiwanese collector originally paid $400,000 for the bronze relic in 1989 at a Sotheby's auction in London, Sotheby's said.

China's State Administration of Cultural Relics said it "highly praises and sincerely thanks Mr. Ho's patriotic move," the statement said.

Only seven of the 12 animal heads from the fountain have been located.

The Poly Art Museum in Beijing houses the tiger, monkey, ox and boar heads, while the rabbit and rat are part of a private European collection. The Chinese government has previously spent more than $4 million to buy back three of the heads — the tiger, ox and monkey — at auctions.

Art Hostage comments:

She was only the Fishmongers daughter, but she knew how to Fillet !!

Stanley Ho, you are a gentleman and a man of honour, ironic it is a Horses Head, not found in the bed !!

Art Hostage finds commenting on this disgusting story of profit before humanity revolting so will let others comment on Dutch culpability.

Give back the Nathan Katz art collection forthwith, you will be forced to in the future, so to save time, money and exposure of Dutch culpability, do it now, it is the decent, moral thing.

Still not convinced?

Read on to help clarify the Dutch position.

THE DUTCH, THE GERMANS, & THE JEWS.(Dutch-Nazi collaboration)

Jan Herman Brinks examines the Dutch myth of resistance and finds collaboration with the Nazis went right to the top.

Careful readers of the compelling diary of Anne Frank might notice that her hiding place was betrayed to the Nazis by Dutch neighbours, without drawing wider conclusions about the behaviour of Dutch people during the occupation by the Third Reich.

In the light of recent revelations of Dutch complicity in the acquisition of Jewish money, artworks and other treasure by the Nazis, contemporary Dutch historians are engaged in a wholesale revision of the ... for the rest of this essay see below:


Manfred Gerstenfeld

Why Were So Many Dutch Jews Killed? / Eichmann's Pleasure / Feeding the Myth: The Anne Frank Story / Coldness and Abuse of Power / A New Museum of Dutch War Failures? / The Postwar Issue Revived / The Commissions of Inquiry / The Scholten Commission's Abuse of Confidence / Twelve Billion Dollars Not Returned? / Dutch Co-responsibility for the Jewish Fate? / Obtaining a Seal of Approval from the Jews / Paying as Little as Possible / An Israeli Aspect

The myth that the great majority of the Dutch people had a highly positive attitude toward the Jews during World War II, identified with their suffering, and took risks to help them has gradually been unmasked in The Netherlands itself over the past decades. The historian Nanda van der Zee summed this up in 1997: "The vain national self-image of the most tolerant people on earth, which had assisted its Jewish fellow-citizens so 'charitably,' was corroded in the 1960s when another generation born after the war started to ask questions."

Israeli historian Joel Fishman has also refuted a follow-up myth. He has referred to the treatment of the Dutch Jews in the postwar years by the country's democratically chosen government. The internationally known Dutch political scientist Arent Lijphart wrote that Holland "has no minorities that are disfranchised, deprived of their civil liberties, or subject to systematic discrimination." Fishman has retorted that Lijphart's statement could only be true if "the Jews in The Netherlands counted for absolutely nothing, and their history was of no consequence."

Internationally, the benign Dutch war image has held on for over fifty years. In its introduction to The Netherlands, the 1999 Jewish Chronicle Travel Guide still writes: "the Germans transported 100,000 [Jews] to death camps in Poland, but the local population tended to behave sympathetically towards their Jewish neighbors, hiding many."

Israel, where at least the authorities should know better, is no exception. One former Israeli ambassador to The Netherlands told this author that he regularly corrected draft speeches of visiting high-ranking Israeli politicians, to prevent them from thanking theDutch for their "extraordinary efforts" for the Jews during World War II without mentioning the substantial collaboration with the Nazis.

There were no extermination camps in The Netherlands, and the Dutch did not actively participate in the killing of Jews. The mass atrocities, for which Germany and so many other European nations supplied willing executors, did not take place on Dutch soil. Few people, however, would consider this itself a sign of great humanity.

Why Were So Many Dutch Jews Killed?
The percentage of Jews from The Netherlands murdered by the Germans and their associates in World War II was higher than in any other Western European country. There were approximately 140,000 Jews in The Netherlands at the outbreak of the war, representing 1.6 percent of the Dutch population, though in Amsterdam they comprised as much as 9.5 percent of the city's population. Some 107,000 Jews were deported from The Netherlands, of whom 102,000 were murdered. Most of the remainder went into hiding, were married to non-Jews and thus freed from deportation, or fled abroad.

Several explanations have been given for this high percentage of Dutch Jews killed. Before The Netherlands capitulated five days after the German invasion in May 1940, Queen Wilhelmina and most members of the Dutch government fled to England. The Germans had initially intended to install a military government, but in the legal vacuum resulting from the flight, Hitler saw the opportunity to insert a civil Nazi government almost immediately.

The head of the Reich's civil government for The Netherlands, the Austrian Nazi leader Dr. A. Seyss-Inquart, reported directly to Hitler. Seyss-Inquart brought with him several other Austrians who later were to show their efficiency, inter alia, in administering the looting and deportation of the Jews. The historian Jozeph Michman, former chairman of the Jerusalem-based Center for Research on Dutch Jewry, suggests that another reason for the high impact of the Holocaust in The Netherlands is that Hitler had special designs on the country and wanted to make it part of the Reich after the war.

Eichmann's Pleasure
Since The Netherlands was well-administered and well-documented, it was relatively easy to round up the Jews. Orders were given by the occupiers and executed by the Dutch authorities. Yet another reason sometimes given for the high Jewish death-toll is that The Netherlands is a small and flat country in which it is more difficult to hide than in Belgium or France. This is a weak argument since, in the later war years, many hiding places were found for Dutch workers who had been called up for labor service in Germany.

After the flight of the Queen and the government, the highest remaining authorities in The Netherlands were the secretaries-general of the ministries, the senior ranking civil servants. These officials--in an inferior position vis-a-vis the German occupiers--were out of their depth, and helped to put the Dutch bureaucratic and institutional apparatus at the disposal of the occupiers. This greatly facilitated the deportation of the Dutch Jews after their property had been systematically looted.

In their preparations for the extermination of the Jews living in The Netherlands, the Germans could count on the assistance of the greater part of the Dutch administrative infrastructure. The occupiers had to employ only a relatively limited number of their own. Dutch policemen rounded up the families to be sent to their deaths in Eastern Europe. Trains of the Dutch railways staffed by Dutch employees transported the Jews to camps in The Netherlands which were transit points to Auschwitz, Sobibor, and other death camps. Van der Zee writes that with respect to Dutch collaboration, Eichmann later said "The transports run so smoothly that it is a pleasure to see."

Well before the deportations, the systematic looting of Jewish properties had begun. For instance, on German orders, the Dutch banks sent out forms to Jewish clients enabling the transfer of their deposits to LIRO, the "looting bank" instituted by the Germans to expropriate money from the Jews. Many Amsterdam stock market traders made good profits on the sale of shares and bonds taken from the Jews.

Other respectable Dutch citizens just "accommodated" themselves. Jacques Presser, a Jewish historian who wrote the official history of the persecution of Dutch Jewry during World War II, was interviewed shortly before his death in 1970 by filmmaker Philo Bregstein. Presser said that when he was dismissed as a high school teacher during the war, what affected him even more than the dismissal was the name of the person who had signed the dismissal letter: "That was a man who then and years after the war--I believe even justifiably so--had a reputation of total rectitude. I could only relate it to my general situation as a Jew, and was aware that, within the context of the interests at play, I was a dispensable piece of small change."

Feeding the Myth: The Anne Frank Story
The myth of the exceptionally benign Dutch attitude feeds on several motifs. One is the February 1941 solidarity strike in Amsterdam and a few other cities; the other is the Anne Frank story. Her diary is widely read throughout the world. The house in Amsterdam where she was hidden occupies a respectable place among Europe's most visited museums. The way in which she is remembered focuses on the courage of those who took risks to hide her. Her diary statement that she believed in the good of man is widely quoted. Society prefers to remember noble individuals rather than traitors.

The one-sided Dutch "resistance image" was heavily propagated in the postwar period. It conveniently ignored the fact that the vast majority of the nation accommodated itself to circumstances. The traumatized and impoverished remnants of Dutch Jewry were in no political or personal position to fight this distortion of history. They had to start from scratch to build up a new existence and, to keep their sanity, they had to look to the future. Some of the survivors were ill. After the Holocaust, many did not want to identify with the community. Furthermore, those who had been hidden during the war had mainly seen the better side of the Dutch. The majority, who had experienced a more representative truth, were no longer alive.

Nor was the Dutch Jewish community in those and later years an equal partner in negotiations with the Dutch government. The country's bureaucracy did not facilitate the fight of this community and its individuals to regain their property. Immoral application of Dutch inheritance tax laws enabled the state to appropriate a substantial part of the assets of those who did not return.

Coldness and Abuse of Power
The immediate postwar attitude of the Dutch government reflected a coldness and abuse of power against this vulnerable community in many other areas. The remnants also had to fight an uphill battle to return Jewish war orphans to family members or Jewish institutions. The government commission appointed to decide on these cases was stacked not only with Christians, who had their own agenda, but also with baptized and assimilated Jews. In another example of Dutch insensitivity, for several months after the war a number of stateless Jews of German origin were locked up in the same camps as Nazis and their collaborators.

Michman told this author two stories which he had heard first-hand from those involved, and which illustrate that Dutch postwar authorities were well aware of discrimination against the Jews. Joop Voet, later Dutch honorary consul in Tel Aviv, worked at the Beheersinstituut, the government body which acted as custodian of the property of enemies as well as of missing persons, nearly all of them Jews. Voet was often told there that "legal restitution to the Jews would be in conflict with the postwar economic reconstruction of The Netherlands."

The other story concerns a visit to postwar Dutch Prime Minister Schermerhorn, a member of the Dutch Labor party, by one of his former school colleagues who lived in Mandatory Palestine. Also present was Karel Hartog, then secretary of the executive of the NZB, the Dutch Zionist organization. Hartog later reported on the visit to his organization's executive, of which Michman was a member. The prime minister had told them that they could not expect him as a socialist to help restore money to Jewish capitalists.

A New Museum of Dutch War Failures?
The time has come to provide a more balanced view of Dutch behavior during World War II. One could imagine the construction of a "Museum of Dutch War Failures" next to the Anne Frank house, to be visited with the same ticket. One major exhibit could be about Anne Frank's belief in man's goodness, in contrast to her latter experiences when one or more Dutch betrayed her and she died in the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen.

Other exhibits could show pictures of individual Dutch collaborators who betrayed Jews and sent them to their deaths in exchange for a reward which, even if inflation-corrected, comes to less than twenty dollars in today's terms. Yet another exhibit could include pictures of the majority of the members of the Dutch High Court of Justice who, in the early days of the occupation, did not consider the German-imposed removal of non-Aryans, i.e., Jews, from Dutch official life to contradict the country's constitution. With this decision, they supported the removal from office of Court President L.E. Visser, who was Jewish.

The number of Dutch Nazi collaborators during World War II exceeded the number of those active in the resistance, even if one does not include in the first category the unknown number of those who stole Jewish property. Many cases are known of Jews who hid their possessions during the war with non-Jewish acquaintances and neighbors, who then denied any knowledge of this when the Jews returned after the war.

It is also not widely known that--relative to its population--The Netherlands had the highest number of Waffen SS volunteers in Western Europe. Giving these facts as much attention as the hiding of Anne Frank would help to balance the international perception of Dutch attitudes during World War II.

The Postwar Issue Revived
In postwar Netherlands, considerable attention has been given to documenting the war's history. After the war a special institute was established for this purpose and continues to carry out research, known today as NIOD, The Netherlands Institute of War Documentation. However, the attention paid to the immediate postwar period was very limited. Throughout the decades, only a few writers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have mentioned that, overall, the returning Jews were less than welcome in many places in The Netherlands, that Jews had been discriminated against in postwar restitution cases, and that there were expressions of anti-Semitism both by the Dutch government and in Dutch society.

Yet a change is now taking place. In recent years, there has been an intensified international debate on the fate of Jewish property during and after the war. This debate has also touched The Netherlands, where some new facts have been discovered that have helped bring this issue into the limelight. One involves Dutch government employees in charge of the restitution of looted Jewish property who, in 1968, auctioned off some remnants of it among themselves at ridiculously low prices. Another involves the accidental discovery of part of the LIRO archive in an Amsterdam building which once belonged to the Ministry of Finance.

The previous Dutch government realized that major damage to the country's image could occur if fragments of negative information on Dutch behavior during and after the war kept being exposed in the international media. The excessively positive image of the Dutch during World War II could rapidly switch to a negative one. The recent Swiss experience has shown how individual pieces of bad news can rekindle a publicity storm time after time.

In one ironic twist of fate, until recently, a painting from a "contested" prewar Jewish collection was found to have been hanging, until recently, in the Dutch ambassador's residence in Israel. After the Dutch authorities had already ordered it to be removed, the story was published in Israeli newspapers. The more the investigations continue, the more negative information will be revealed.

Books and newspaper articles continue to report additional stories which further erode the myth of Dutch behavior during the war. In the recently published book Dienaren van het Gezag (Servants of Authority), historian Guus Meershoek analyzes the attitude of the Amsterdam police during the war. Among many examples of misbehavior, he mentions how on one occasion Dutch policemen entered a Jewish cafe, searched the people there, took away the jewels they found which the Jews--according to German orders--should have handed over to LIRO, noted them in the police records as found objects, and then distributed them among themselves.

The Commissions of Inquiry
The Dutch government thus decided that it should become pro-active on this issue. In 1997 it instituted four commissions of inquiry to investigate the looting of Jewish property during the war and restitution afterwards. Furthermore, a body called SOTO, headed by historian Conny Kristel, a NIOD employee, was established to assess the postwar treatment of returnees. Although SOTO does not deal exclusively with Jews, they are its main concern.

Some commission reports have already been published. The Kordes Commission, which dealt with the LIRO bank, demonstrated in its final report an understanding of how cold the treatment of the remaining Jews by Dutch postwar governments had been, and recommended that payments now be made to the Jews for several wrongs. One of these involved the fact that the Dutch government did not return most of the taxes taken, without the knowledge of the owners, from looted Jewish accounts during World War II by Dutch tax authorities, including for years after the account owners had been gassed.

One major objection to the Kordes Commission's conclusions concerns their opinion that it was correct to apply the Dutch inheritance tax laws to the fortunes of the murdered Jews. This subject could become an academic case study. It is a paradigm of how a normal law in a democratic country can become a perverse tool if applied in an extreme situation, particularly against a politically weak community. The Dutch government instituted its inheritance tax laws for a normal society in which the vast majority of people die a natural death. It then used these laws to appropriate money from the estates of a community which it had been unable to protect, 75 percent of whom were murdered over a two- to three-year period.

The Scholten Commission's Abuse of Confidence
Another government commission of inquiry, the Scholten Commission, has come under major criticism. Most of the commission members are former board members of banks or insurance companies; thus they can hardly be considered impartial and fit to supervise an independent inquiry into institutions from which they have received money in the past.

The report of this government-appointed commission was paid for by the institutions it investigated, which undermines its value. Only a minority of the institutions approached agreed to cooperate with the commission's researchers. Thus, the first report from the Scholten Commission was methodologically flawed, as has been pointed out in reactions to it.

Detailed critical comments on this report were also made by the CJO, the central Jewish consultation body which encompasses the main organizations of the Dutch Jewish community. It charged the Scholten Commission with "abuse of their confidence," a particularly radical statement for the very prudent representatives of Dutch Jewry.

The historian Isaac Lipschits, one of the first authors to draw attention, decades ago, to postwar discrimination against Dutch Jews, told this author of yet another shortcoming of the commission's researchers. He visited one of the banks that was willing to cooperate, where he was very well received by its archivist and given a detailed file on the safe-deposit boxes of Jews which had been broken open--on German orders--during the war. The archivist told Lipschits that the researchers of the Scholten Commission had been told about these files but had shown no interest in them.

Twelve Billion Dollars Not Returned?
It remains unclear how much was looted from Dutch Jews during the war and what percentage was restored afterwards. The Van Kemenade inquiry commission is expected to publish an estimate at the end of 1999. The local branch of the international KPMG auditing firm was hired to develop these figures.

In Spring 1999, the historian Gerard Aalders, a NIOD employee, published the book Roof (Looting), on the expropriation of Dutch Jewish property during World War II. The numbers he suggests remain the subject of debate. Lipschits believes Aalders' estimates are far too low, and that the amount may be close to 2.5 billion guilders at that time, of which less than 50 percent was returned after the war.

Based on Lipschits' rough estimates, and multiplying what was not returned by a factor of at least 20, to compensate for inflation and interest over 50 years, one reaches a figure of about 25 billion guilders, or twelve billion dollars at 1999 values.

The Dutch government is obviously responsible for what happened with regard to the restitution of Jewish property after World War II. Aalders, who gave a lecture at an international symposium organized by the Center for Research on Dutch Jewry in November 1998 in Jerusalem, was heavily criticized by the public for focusing on the question of whether the postwar restitution laws were correctly applied, rather than emphasizing their morally doubtful character.

Aalders published an article quite similar to his lecture in the main Netherlands daily NRC Handelsblad in which he described what had occurred after World War II: "For the robbed Jews who had been harder hit than any other group, no extra provisions were made. A public discussion as to whether that was desirable or not has never been held."

Dutch Co-responsibility for the Jewish Fate?
A more complex matter is the extent of Dutch government responsibility for what happened to the Dutch Jews during the war. One aspect of this concerns the flight of the government and the Queen to London and its constitutional impact. Another is the quality of the contingency plans left behind. Nor did the government in exile give clear instructions as to how the Dutch civil servants should behave when the Jews were isolated, looted, and transported to their death, while they did so on the occasion of other deportations. Queen Wilhelmina mentioned the suffering of her Jewish subjects only three times in her radio speeches to the Dutch people during five years of exile.

The issue is not that the Dutch officials under the occupation served the Germans and few of them were heroes. The issue is much more that the present Dutch government cannot claim that its wartime predecessors in exile did their utmost to provide clear instructions to the Dutch authorities under occupation as to how to behave on matters of discrimination against the Jews, making possible the accusation of their co-responsibility for the fate of the Dutch Jews in the war. For example, the Dutch police was a body meant to arrest criminals. However, it also systematically arrested innocent Jewish citizens on German orders. Can later Dutch governments be exempt from legal responsibility for those actions?

In 1998, Avraham Roet, an Israeli businessman of Dutch origin, founded the Israel Institute for Research on Dutch Jewish Assets Lost during the Holocaust, which has become a source of information for those seeking documentation in this field. Roet recently made public a letter sent to him by a well-known Amsterdam law firm in which one of the senior partners writes: "certainly morally, and arguably legally, the Kingdom is responsible for what happened to its subjects that it could not protect during the Nazi occupation."

Today, the Dutch government has a difficult task before it: it must manage a politically hot issue with both financial and image risks. One of its goals must be to avoid trouble with the world Jewish community. It has seen how the Swiss state and its institutions have experienced worldwide criticism from the media, boycotts by some American institutions, and problems with the American justice system.

The Dutch government is well aware that similar actions could be taken against major Dutch banking interests in the United States. For instance, the financial damage that class action suits could cause might far exceed the amounts the Dutch government intends to pay the Jewish community.

The Dutch government is clearly aware of the dangers. According to the Volkskrant daily, in a highly unusual step, the Dutch government has paid over $100,000 to Hill & Knowlton, a leading American public relations firm, to deal with issues concerning its restitution policies in the American media. The Dutch government justified its decision by stating that there had been reports in the media that the Dutch had not been diligent enough after the war in returning looted art, brought back from Germany, to its rightful owners.

Obtaining a Seal of Approval from the Jews
One of the Dutch government's major political goals, in its quest for damage-control, is to obtain recognition that, while its predecessors may have failed, it is now acting reasonably under the circumstances. The only people who can give this seal of approval--we might call it "a kashrut stamp"--are the Jews. From the Dutch government's point of view, it is unfortunate that there are so many potential Jewish counterparts. From the Jewish side, this may be an advantage. If the results of the negotiations are not satisfactory, there will be so much criticism of the negotiators from other Dutch Jewish interests that any such approval would become ineffectual.

Ideally, the present Dutch government would like to receive testimony of good conduct from the representatives of all Dutch Jews around the world. This is impossible. The government will thus, at best, have to make do with certification by the leading bodies of Dutch Jewry and Jews in Israel of Dutch origin.

In The Netherlands, the main Jewish body involved in these matters is the CJO, though its claim to exclusive representation is contested by some smaller organizations. In Israel the various organizations of Jews of Dutch origin have created an umbrella body, "Platform Israel." However, the thousands of Dutch Jews who emigrated to North America after World War II are not organized.

Another aim of the Dutch government must be to reach a generally accepted historical truth about the systematic looting of Dutch Jewry during World War II and the question of restitution thereafter. From the government's point of view, the best solution would be if the Dutch Jewish community would accept the validity of the conclusions reached by the government inquiry commissions.

After what has been published so far by the Kordes and particularly the Scholten Commissions, however, this would be a major historical and political mistake. The Jewish representatives should focus on the financial side of the negotiations, and leave the political and historical aspects to be judged by future generations. At least some of the Dutch Jewish leaders are aware of this. One said to this author, "We have to avoid falsifying history in exchange for money."

Paying as Little as Possible
There are indications that the Dutch government has at least one more aim: to pay as little money as possible to the Dutch Jewish community. The negotiations potentially could become very one-sided. The government is very powerful with a huge infrastructure and almost unlimited means. The CJO and Platform Israel represent small communities with limited organizational structures and few human resources.

On the other hand, the Jewish representatives have a few cards to play. The Dutch government must wish to avoid the involvement in the negotiations of international Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress. These organizations are not dependent on the Dutch government, their financial claims will exceed those of the Dutch Jewish community, and they may even desire some additional international media exposure. These are excellent reasons for the Dutch government to try to keep world Jewry out of the negotiations.

Against this background, statements appear in the Dutch media which remind one of anti-Semitic stereotypes, for example, that Jews are money hungry. Some Dutch officials claim that the Jewish community should primarily aim "for recognition and not for money."

This led Hans Vuijsje, director of JMW, the Dutch Organization for Jewish Social Work, to write to one of these officials: "The statement that we should not talk about money but about 'recognition' is seen in our circles as chutzpah, cheek. It is the opposite of the facts. It is not the Jews talking all the time about money, but Dutch society. The question about 'recognition' is: for what? Not recognition as war victims, that has already been given [but]...recognition that the possessions of the Jews have been handled in a careless way."

An Israeli Aspect
One specifically Israeli aspect of the debate is that The Netherlands has heavily criticized Israeli policies on many occasions over the past decades, mainly within the framework of the European Union. These one-sided criticisms have often been dressed in the cloak of morality. It is obvious that they have been highly politically motivated, because there has been much less European criticism of murderous Arab dictatorships.

The studies of the Dutch government's own commissions of inquiry strengthen what was known before, that democratically elected Dutch governments and several major institutions behaved immorally toward the Dutch Jews when this was profitable. The further research of the inquiry commissions will demonstrate consistent moral failures of a series of Dutch governments.

These can be used as a powerful argument against the Dutch government when the European Union tries to put pressure on Israel in the forthcoming peace negotiations. A nation that has frequently exercised discrimination against a weak minority should concentrate, in the future, on its own shortcomings before criticizing other nations.

The debate on this issue will undoubtedly heat up in the near future when further commission reports are published and negotiations begin with the Dutch government on what will be returned to the Jews. At present it seems quite probable that the work of the commissions of inquiry and SOTO will not accomplish what the Dutch government wants. They will not mark the end of the investigations of how the Dutch government and society treated the Jews in the postwar years, but rather may well signify their beginning.

* * *

Manfred Gerstenfeld is a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is an international consultant specializing in business and environmental strategy to the senior ranks of multinational corporations. His books include Israel's New Future: Interviews (JCPA and Rubin Mass, 1994), and Judaism, Environmentalism and the Environment (Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and Rubin Mass, 1998). An abbreviated version of this Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints was presented at a symposium on Dutch Jewish War Claims organized by Platform Israel in July 1999 in Tel Aviv.

Anyone still believe that this claim for the return of the Nathan Katz art collection is invalid ?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Guldhornene Recovered, Time for a Tmesis, Tumba-bloody-rumba, UnBloodybelievable !!

Stolen Danish gilded horns recovered

Danish police have recovered a pair of gilded horns a day after the national heirlooms were stolen from a museum in the former Viking capital of Jelling in Jutland.

Police said they had arrested four people, two men and two women, after a tip and had recovered the horns and some other artifacts which were stolen on Tuesday.

At least one item was still missing, police said.

The horns were reproductions of two 5th century solid gold horns that were stolen 205 years ago and melted down, despite being national treasures.

The reproductions of the Golden Horns of Gallehus were made in the mid-19th century.

The original horns were made of about 3kg of solid gold and were covered with soldered figures and carvings of beasts believed to be from Celtic mythology.

They were unearthed in Gallehus in Jutland in the 17th and 18th centuries and were stolen in 1802 by an indebted watchmaker who destroyed them to make shoe buckles and other trinkets.
Art Hostage comments:

Credit to the Good Old Sydney Morning Herald for the heads up.

Would be really nice if they could report the safe recovery of the stolen Cavalier, which does not have a reward offered, in a courageous move by the NSW Gallery.

No-one can call Edmund Capon, the Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales a Chicken !!

Just goes to show that offers of rewards are not always needed to secure the return of stolen iconic artworks.

Behind the scenes credit may be given to the informant, quietly, out of the media spotlight.

A glimmer of hope in the never ending fight against organised high value art theft.

It is worth noting that these Guldhornene are regarded as sacred by the Public in Denmark, so any apprehension in giving Police information was dispelled from the get-go., see link below:

A rare good news story in a sea of bad news regarding art theft.

In case you are wondering, a Tmesis is.......... for enlightenment.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Guldhornene, Horns Now Held Art Hostage !!

Danish national treasure stolen

COPENHAGEN (AFP) — One of Denmark's national treasures, a set of two horns made in the 1800s, was stolen in the early hours of Monday, Danish police said.

Called "Guldhornene" in Danish, or the Golden Horns, the pieces are silver replicas of two original gold horns made in 400 A.D. which were stolen in 1802 and destroyed.

The replicas, with a thin gold coating, were on loan from the National Museum of Denmark for an exhibit in Jelling, near the central Danish town of Vejle, when they were stolen by thieves who smashed a display case.

Even though the works are replicas they are part of the country's cultural heritage, National Museum curator Carsten Larsen said.

The originals were discovered in the town of Gallehus in southern Denmark in 1639 before they went missing and were found again in 1734.

They were stolen in 1802 from the Royal Chamber of Art by an indebted jeweller, Niels Heidenreich, who melted the gold to make jewellery and counterfeit coins.

The horns are a national symbol known to all and have even inspired a famous poem penned by Danish writer Adam Oehenschlaeger.

Experts said the thieves would not be able to sell the treasures.

"The thieves cannot put them to any use whatsoever," said Michael Fornitz from Copenhagen's Bruun Rasmussen auction house.

"Maybe they thought the horns were made of solid gold and thought they would melt them down. But they are gilded and do not have any intrinsic worth."

He also shot down the idea that a collector could have ordered the theft.

"Our experience shows that this hypothesis only exists in detective novels," he said. "Collectors are proud of showing off their acquisitions, not hiding them."

Danish police have meanwhile stepped up a search for the thieves who fled from the precincts in a Volvo V40, according to witnesses.

Art Hostage comments:

Danish Police are looking for a Volvo V40, that's a good start, what next, the thieves have Blonde hair and Blue Eyes?

If faced with a minimum Ten Years jail time, the thieves may have thought twice.
In fact the thief who stole the original Guldhornene in 1802, Niels Heidenreich, spent 40 years in jail.

Got a good contact in Denmark, a Brit ex-pat, former military, wife Danish, in the fine art business, must get his take, I will get him on the horn tomorrow, oops no pun intended.

How about a rich eccentric billionaire wants these Horns to use as 19th century Condoms ?

In poor taste, yes, but there is something Phallic about the Guldhornene don't you think ??
Last word to Mercury !!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, A Mere Day's Work !!

Large quantity of antiques stolen from home

A large quantity of antiques were stolen from a house in West Haddon.
The house in Station Road was broken into sometime between 2pm and 8.30pm on Friday August 31 and an untidy search of the premises took place.

The offenders took a haul of valuable antiques including jewellery and watches.

Also among the stolen property was a silver Georgian teapot and stand and a unique American pendulum clock.

The clock is about 22 inches long and 14 inches wide. It is made of wood and glass and has two Peacocks engraved on the glass front.

Police would like to speak to anyone who may have been offered any of these unique items for sale.

Anyone with information should call Northamptonshire police on 08453 700700 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Art Hostage comments:

I have been waiting for this to be reported as there was a specific reason why it was targeted on a Friday afternoon.

Located not far from the Motorways/Freeways, these stolen antiques changed hands several times during the following Saturday morning.

I am still waiting for the big art theft at ------- to be reported in the press.

Last I heard was the plan was in the final stages and was ready to be executed.

As the clocks go back at the end of October darkness will descend earlier in the day, allowing Art thieves to use the cloak of darkness to carry out planned robberies and deceptions against the vulnerable, elderly, art collecting community.

Perhaps Police think if they stop reporting art thefts in the media the public may think art theft is a rare occurrence.

Truth is, there have been many art thefts recently that have gone unreported and many more to follow during the coming Fall and Winter, will these hit the headlines?

A glimmer of hope is a recent success, well sort of.

Details to follow.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Rewards, A Mere Pipe Dream !!

Insurer offers reward for stolen masterpieces

A £15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the return of seven irreplaceable ceramic works, stolen from the De Morgan Centre in West Hill.

Insurance company Tyler and Co, whose policy covers the works, took out an advert publicising the reward in the industry bible, Art and Antiques Trade Gazette, last Tuesday. The company has not yet received any information about the works, valued at £200,000.

Mark Dalrymple of Tyler and Co. said the reward was intended to catch the attention of dealers who might be offered the works.

He said: "We have done it because we want the pieces back. If you don't try you don't get."

But De Morgan curator Claire Longworth said it could be many years before the works were traced.

"There is always a buyer for everything and there are collectors who are not strictly kosher. We have got to sit back and wait. It can be a very long time just because thieves will keep things underground until things have cooled down," she said.

Anyone with information should call Wandsworth police on 020 8247 8748 or make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.

Art Hostage comments:

First of all lets get one thing clear.

Mark Dalrymple is not an insurer, he is an Art Loss Adjuster, and a very good one at that, one of the worlds finest.

Next, Art Hostage already knows the answer to this question, but a sceptical Public is still unsure.

"This reward, how does one actually collect?"

"What are the conditions required before Mark Dalrymple can pay out the £15,000?"

"How does an Antiques Dealer offered these stolen artworks help recover them without leaving themselves open to abuse, from both Police and Criminals?"

The Public are very sceptical about how to claim a reward and would like to have it spelt out clearly to them.

The clearest public statement from the art insurance industry outlining the conditions for rewards to be paid was an answer to a question posed when the Da Vinci was stolen from Scotland, see exchange below:

David Lee, the art critic and Editor of Jackdaw, said: “The Da Vinci Madonna stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in 2003 is so recognisable that thieves would have a better chance of selling the Crown Jewels.

“If they have a brain larger than a pickled onion they will park it in the back of a wardrobe and sit on it for a couple of years.

I suspect it will be offered eventually through a middleman at an amount tempting enough to an insurance company to pay a ‘reward’. ”

Reply From The Honourable Mr David Scully

Sir, You suggest that the Leonardo stolen from Drumlanrig Castle might “be offered eventually through a middleman at an amount tempting enough to an insurance company to pay a ‘reward’ ” (report, August 28).

It is illegal for an insurance company to pay a reward, without the express permission of the police.

Permission would not be given to pay anyone connected with the crime or any middleman.

As the largest insurer of art in the world, it is our unwavering company policy not to countenance ransoms, even if paid through middlemen.In any case, it would make absolutely no commercial sense for an insurer to pay such a “reward” as it would simply encourage the thieves to steal more art, thus diminishing our cultural heritage (and insurers’ profits) further.

Yours sincerely,

DAVID SCULLY(Underwriting Director),Axa Art Insurance,

106 Fenchurch Street,

London EC3M 5JE.

It would be nice, as a follow up, for Mark Dalrymple to give a clear and precise statement explaining what conditions are needed to claim a reward and then the public would know whether to involve themselves.

At least then there would be no ambiguity.

For those of you who cannot wait for the truth see below:

Monday, September 03, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Rare Valuable Prints, Why Pay Retail When You Can Buy From Your Drug Dealer ??

Rare prints taken in raid on art gallery

By Suzanne Rutter

THOUSANDS of pounds worth of rare prints have been stolen in an early-morning raid on an art gallery.

Tony Satloka was woken by police on Sunday morning after the robbery at his Satloka Gallery, Wade House Road, Shelf, at 5.15am.

Four hooded youths are believed to have smashed the store's windows with bricks and made off with £3,000 worth of limited-edition prints.
The images included four by Brazillian-born artist Henderson Cisz, El Chal, or The Shawl, by Fletcher Sibthorp and two by David Farren.

They included a copy of Cisz's 70-inch by 30-inch Chrysler View, one of only 195 nationally.

Gallery owner Mr Satloka, 57, said: "I could understand someone stealing a Monet and keeping it rolled up in a vault all their lives. But limited-edition prints are very difficult to sell. If someone tries to sell these on e-Bay they will shoot themselves in the foot.

"Stealing a painting is not the same as stealing a television. It's sad that people can destroy what others value and treasure." Mr Satloka said he was reluctant to put bars across the windows of his shop.

"The store is now boarded up. But I'm in the business of selling imagery – 90 per cent of my customers come to the gallery because of the window displays. Bars would ruin that."

The youths were prevented from taking more of the store's stock by the landlord of nearby The Duke of Wellington pub.

Hand-crafted glass by international glass manufacturers Svaja and Kinky Glass, worth about £4,000, was broken in the raid.

Mr Satloka, also an artist, said it would cost thousands of pounds to replace the windows. He has owned the gallery for 18 months and sells work by local and international artists.

A police spokesman said: "Some youths were seen running off with pieces of art towards Lightcliffe roundabout.

"Anyone who is offered any artwork, and is suspicious about where it came from, should contact us."

Anyone with information should call police on 01422 337059.

Art Hostage comments:

£3,000 worth of rare prints, stolen then sold for £300 worth of drugs that cost drug dealer £100, drug dealer sells prints for £500, shows 500% profit, less profit on original drugs.

Stolen rare prints adorn walls of rich drug taker who buys drugs from same drug dealer as original print thieves.

Rare prints remain on the wall of rich drug taker, who has a good job, not involved with any other type of crime, therefore less likely to be raided by Police and caught.

Recovery rate of stolen art 5%-8%

Art theft, now firmly in the mainstream !!