Friday, March 24

The US Supreme Court orders to reopen the case of the Pissarro plundered by the Nazis exposed in the Thyssen

The fate of the painting ‘Rue Calle st. Honoré, in the afternoon, rain effect’, from Camille Pissarro currently on display at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation from Madrid, remains pending to be determined by the California courts after andThe Supreme Court of the United States has ruled this Thursday in favor of the Jewish family claiming it. It orders to reopen the case so that the North American ordinary justice can apply to this litigation, which has lasted 17 years, state’s conflict of laws rule.

The American High Court has ruled unanimously in favor of the Cassirer family in his controversy in front of the Spanish museum for the recovery of what was looted by the Nnzis in World War II, They inform EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA, a newspaper that belongs to the same group as this medium, sources from the office B. Cremades & associates. This office represents the FFederation of Jewish Communities of Spain and the Jewish Community of Madrid who have appeared in this case as amicus curiae (a kind of popular accusation) of the Cassirer family.

Acquired by the Baron

The heirs claim that Lilly Cassirer was seen forced by the Nazis to sell the work cheaply in exchange for a permission to leave Germany in 1939. For its part, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation defends that “the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza acquired the painting in good faith in 1976, and the foundation, in turn, acquired the painting in 1993, where it has been always on display to the public”.The dispute dates back to 2005. when Claude Cassirer, Lilly’s grandson, filed a lawsuit in California against the Spanish State and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation. at his death His heirs followed and after 15 years of legal battle, in August 2020 the The United States Court of Appeals recognized the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation as the legitimate owner of Pissarro’s painting. However, the Jewish family appealed and the matter became one of the few resources that have reached the Supreme Court of the country.

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The question before the Supreme Court of the United States was the determination of the conflict of laws rule relevant, that is, whether the American judge should apply the conflict-of-laws rule federal or California state to in turn determine the law applicable to the merits of the matter. As possible applicable laws were the Spanish law and the law of the state of California.

Finally, the high US court has determined that California conflict of law rules applyinstead of the federal standard. In reaching this conclusion, the Court has taken into account that, “once a foreign State lacks immunity from jurisdiction, it is subject to the same liability rules as a private entity.”

This decision has crucial importance for the fate of the picture, the sources consulted point out, given that, using the federal conflict-of-laws rule, the lower courts had until now applied Spanish law to determine whether the Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation should return the painting to the Cassirer family.

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Now the US Supreme Court orders the lower courts to reopen the case to, applying California’s conflict-of-laws rule, determine which law should apply to the merits of the dispute, that is, Spanish law — as has been done up to now– or California state law instead.

Under the substantive law of the State of California, even if the Fundación Thyssen-Bornemisza were a bona fide third party when it purchased the painting, it could not have acquired title to it given that the painting was looted in World War II. World. Consequently, if Californian substantive law applied, the foundation Thyssen-Bornemisza should return it to the Cassirer family, according to this part.

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