Court rules British Museum can keep looted art

27th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 May 2005, LONDON - The British Museum in London is allowed to keep four Old Master drawings even though it accepted that the treasures were looted by Nazi Germany during World War Two, the High Court in London ruled on Friday.

27 May 2005

LONDON - The British Museum in London is allowed to keep four Old Master drawings even though it accepted that the treasures were looted by Nazi Germany during World War Two, the High Court in London ruled on Friday.

The court's ruling concerned a claim by heirs of a Czech lawyer who had the art works stolen from his home by the Nazis in the late 1930's.

Legal observers had said the court case would set a precedent for the ongoing row between Britain and Greece over the return of the so-called Elgin Marbles - a series of statues and fragments taken from the Athens Parthenon and brought to England in 1811.

However, the High Court ruled that the British Museum Act - which protects its collections for posterity - cannot be overridden by a "moral obligation".

A spokesperson for the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, which represented the claimants, said: "The ruling is significant for all claimants of looted art from the Nazi era, setting aside any possibility of restitution being achieved in this way."

"The commission very much regrets that this avenue to achieve the return of the drawings is not now open to the museum."

The drawings, acquired by the museum for little money in 1946, are now estimated to be worth GBP 150,000 (EUR 218,000).

DPA

Subject: German news

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