Former Chasidic Superstar Matisyahu
90-year-old retreives painting stolen from his uncle by the NazisUpon discovery of an art trove in Munich in which 1,200 paintings stolen from Jews by the Nazis were found, 90-year-old David Toren was finally able to cease rightful ownership over his uncle’s painting, who was murdered in Auschwitz, and will sell it for over half a million pound sterling.
90-year-old David Toren finally got the chance for some closure. 77 years ago, as a 13-year-old boy during the dark days of the Third Reich, he saw Nazi soldiers enter his uncle’s house and steal a painting titled “Two Riders on a Beach” by Max Liebermann. Now he was able to sell the painting as its legal owner.
The painting was taken from his uncle’s home a day after the “Kristallnacht” (the Night of Broken Glass) in 1938, a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria meant to test the world’s reaction to violence against the Jews. The painting disappeared after the war but was discovered in 2012 in an apartment in Munich alongside more than 1,200 other stolen paintings from the time of World War II.
“Two Riders on a Beach” belonged to Toren’s uncle, David Friedmann, who was forced to hand over all the works of art he owned after the Kristallnacht. Friedmann and his family were murdered in Auschwitz during the war and Toren survived after being transferred to Sweden.
Toren filed a request in 2012 to identify him as the legal successor of his uncle as he was his only remaining relative, and finally the painting was transferred to his ownership. Toren, who lost his wife in the years that passed, stated: “Though I am the only living heir to have seen the painting in my great uncle’s home, I am one of a number of heirs and we have decided to sell. The painting can now pass into a new phase of its story.” The value of the painting is estimated at more than half a million pound sterling.
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