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Monday, November 29, 2004


High Court Declines Hitler Art Case

THE Supreme Court let stand Monday a lower court ruling allowing the U.S. Army to keep four watercolors painted by Adolf Hitler that were seized in Germany after World War II.

Without comment, the justices turned aside a challenge by the family of late German photographer Heinrich Hoffmann Sr., which had sought either the return of the paintings as well as 2.5 million photographs -- or millions of dollars in damages.

The watercolors include street scenes and war landscapes painted before and during World War I. U.S. forces discovered them in 1945, not long after Hitler committed suicide, in a German castle where Hoffmann had stored them during the war.

Hoffmann's family contended the photographer was a victim of wartime art pillaging and that the seizure of the paintings as well as 2.5 million photographs violated their constitutional rights. The U.S. government countered that the photos and paintings were Nazi art that was confiscated to "de-Nazify Germany."

The court's action appears to lay to rest a nearly 20-year battle involving the government, Hoffmann relatives and Texas art investor Billy F. Price, who bought rights to the works. The latest challenge involved a technical issue that brought the case back to the high court after justices refused to hear an initial appeal in 2002.

The Army keeps the paintings in government storage in Alexandria, Va.

The case is Hoffmann v. U.S., 04-425.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company


Related item on this website:

Four more paintings by Hitler offerd for sale (2002)
New York Times, May 9, 2001: Court Considers Ownership of Seized 'Hitler' Paintings
Early Hitler works found in Iran
What comments have you on these Adolf Hitler paintings etc?
Nazi's heirs lose legal battle over Hitler watercolours
© Focal Point 2004 e-mail:  write to David Irving