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Oberlin College: “we are voluntarily returning the drawing” stolen by Nazis during Holocaust after 17-year fight and criminal seizure warrant

Oberlin College: “we are voluntarily returning the drawing” stolen by Nazis during Holocaust after 17-year fight and criminal seizure warrant

Oberlin College: “As a result” of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office serving a criminal seizure warrant, “we are voluntarily returning the drawing. We hope this will provide some measure of closure to the family of Fritz Grünbaum.”

The drawing Girl with Black Hair by Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele, stolen by the Nazis from Fritz Grünbaum, a prominent Jewish art collector and cabaret artist as part of the Nazi confiscation of Jewish property, was the subject of multiple posts here in the past couple of weeks.

As we previously documented, the Grünbaum heirs tried in vain for 17 years to get Oberlin College to return the drawing, including multiple demands and a civil lawsuit. But it was a recent criminal seizure warrant out of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and attendant bad publicity that appears to have swayed Oberlin College finally to give up the stolen property.

See these posts for more details and links to court documents:

Classifying this turn of events as “voluntary” is exactly the type of false virtue signaling I predicted Oberlin College would do.

Fox News has picked up that angle, Artwork believed stolen during Holocaust returned after 17-year fight with Ohio college:

Artwork believed to be stolen during the Holocaust from a Jewish art collector and entertainer have been rightly returned to the Nazi victim’s heirs after a 17-year battle with Oberlin College….

The Equal Protection Project (EPP) of the Legal Insurrection Foundation President William Jacobson told Fox News Digital that the art museum first bought the drawing in the late 1950s from an art dealer in France.

“They bought it, according to the court papers, in the late fifties from an art dealer in Paris, which of course should have raised flags,” Jacobson said. “Any art purchased in immediate postwar Europe you would know to check the provenance of it to make sure it wasn’t Nazi looted art.”

Jacobson said the Allen Memorial Art Museum was notified about the stolen piece from family members of Grünbaum “no later than 2006.”

Court documents show the college’s refusal to return the artwork in both 2006 and 2009, after Grünbaum family members requested the museum return it….

“The Grünbaum estate sued Oberlin College in late 2022, and Oberlin has been fighting the lawsuit,” Jacobson said. “(Oberlin) has been fighting it for about nine months. Still refusing to give it back.”

On the “voluntary” issue, Fox News reported:

“Oberlin College announced, consistent with their position for 17 years, that ‘this is rightfully ours, we lawfully own it, and we’re not giving it back,'” Jacobson said. “And that changed, after the criminal warrant.

“But the reality is they’ve been fighting this for 17 years,” Jacobson added. “They fought it in civil court, in federal court, and they only gave in when they were going to look really bad, when all the world knew that they had stolen a painting looted by the Nazis from a concentration camp.”

Earlier this week, the college announced its plan to voluntarily return the drawing to the Grünbaum family.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Oberlin College said it “invested significant resources” in the history of the artwork and “concluded it had been lawfully acquired.”

“Oberlin College purchased Egon Schiele’s drawing Girl with Black Hair in 1958. When questions relating to the artwork’s ownership came to light in the years that followed, Oberlin invested significant resources researching the history of its sale and purchase and concluded it had been lawfully acquired,” a spokesperson for the college said.

“This artwork was purchased for Oberlin’s Allen Memorial Art Museum by Charles Parkhurst, director of the museum from 1949 to 1962. As one of the ‘Monuments Men,’ he was celebrated for tracking down and returning art looted by Nazis in WWII,” the spokesperson added. “It is inconceivable that Parkhurst would have knowingly purchased any artwork that he believed might have been stolen.”

Oberlin said that once the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office began investigating the artwork, it voluntarily returned the drawing.

“The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, through its ongoing investigation, has nonetheless raised questions about the ownership of Girl with Black Hair,” the spokesperson continued. “As a result, we are voluntarily returning the drawing. We hope this will provide some measure of closure to the family of Fritz Grünbaum.”

Jacobson noted the irony of the situation due to Oberlin College being “one of the most virtue signaling progressive colleges in the country.” ….


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AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | October 8, 2023 at 6:45 pm

But, the nice man in the black leather trench coat and knee high leather boots who sold it to us promised it wasn’t stolen from a POW.


Oberlin seems to go from one disaster to another voluntarily.

Lucifer Morningstar | October 8, 2023 at 7:23 pm

Artwork believed stolen during Holocaust returned after 17-years fight with Ohio college

No, it’s not “believed” to have been stolen. It was stolen from its rightful owner by the Nazi regime and then sold on ending up with Oberlin College. That it took Oberlin 17 years to admit that fact and return the piece to its rightful owner is disgusting.

Well aren’t they just “Saint Like”, bless their twisted evil little hearts.

Another Voice | October 8, 2023 at 8:10 pm

Commenting earlier, I believe it was received via a donation by an alumni and registered as an endowment donation, which came with a cavate that the donor would remain anonymous. As an endowment the amount could be reassessed at current value(s) as a fixed asset. If what is added here today and it was obtained by a person of reputable reputation doing un-reputable things, if it were come to light during a criminal case, holding onto the stolen art work would be another Oberlin College vs Gibson’s Bakery legal case waged between 2016 – 2023. One which cost them dearly in standing and endowments excluding what it cost to pay the $36M exclusive of legal counsel.

amatuerwrangler | October 8, 2023 at 8:35 pm

That is about as voluntary as is the 7-11 clerk voluntarily giving the contents of the cash register to the man with the sawed-off shotgun on the other side of the counter.

Anybody else here at L.I. old enough to recall the days before the World Wide Web, and blogs? I’m thinking that a situation like this probably would not have garnered very much publicity, fair to say?

It almost makes one wonder how many other stories like this are out there, hmmmm.

Well, regardless, the folks who run Oberlin are foul. Vile. Absolutely vile. Clearly this case, and the Gibson’s Bakery case, and the Iranian “professor” case ………. take a hint lololol

At the least, friends don’t let friends have anything to with this place.

E Howard Hunt | October 9, 2023 at 7:00 am

The art world is a very, very, very dirty business. While I detest Oberlin and its actions against the bakery, I will not reflexively jump on this familiar, narrative-driven bandwagon. The Manhattan DA is Satan himself when he goes after Trump, but is Saint Peter when he goes after an entity that 65 years ago bought a carefully researched painting in the established art market.

No commentator here knows who is entitled to ownership of this painting and neither do I. Regardless, Oberlin made the right PR decision to return it. Museums would be empty if every object, not acquired by donation of its original owner, were subject to claims owing to war, seizure or cultural appropriation.

    SeekingRationalThought in reply to E Howard Hunt. | October 9, 2023 at 7:26 am

    Do we know to whom it belongs with 100% certainty? Perhaps not. But based upon the facts we can be reasonably certain that it was taken by the Nazi’s and belonged to someone other than Oberlin.

    M Poppins in reply to E Howard Hunt. | October 9, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    Sorry, but you’re mistaken. It was part of the collection of Fritz Grünbaum who had 80 sketches and paintings Egon Schiele.

They may not want some investigator getting into the collection and finding other pieces that were obtained in questionable manners and are being kept off the official inventory list.

This word “volunteer.” I don’t think that it means what you think it does. And if it does, then Oberlin is even worse off than we suspect.