A German museum has been ordered to return thousands of posters to their rightful owner.
Peter Sachs, a Jewish man whose father’s poster art collection was stolen by the Nazis in 1938, has won his case in the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe.
The judges in stating their reasoning for the decision said not returning the posters would “perpetuate Nazi injustice".
Peter Sachs’ father, Hans Sachs, had an impressive poster art collection of up to 12,500 which included posters for exhibitions, cabarets, films, and political propaganda. Hans, who escaped a concentration camp by fleeing to the US, has only had 4,529 of his posters identified so far.
The German Historical Museum had collected the posters after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and had been displaying a few of them at a time. They argued that the collection was an extremely valuable resource for researchers.
After becoming aware of the collection in 2005, Peter Sachs wasted no time in ensuring legal proceedings went ahead.
"It feels like vindication for my father, a final recognition of the life he lost and never got back,” he told Associated Press
Mr. Sachs’ lawyer, Matthias Druba, also spoke out about the importance of getting the posters back.
"Hans Sachs wanted to show the poster art to the public, so the objective now is to find a depository for the posters in museums where they can really be seen and not hidden away,” he said.
Mr. Druba also commented on the seven-year legal battle, stating he was “amazed it had to go all the way to the High Court” (Bloomberg
The museum has now stated that it “accepts the ruling.”
"Based on the ruling, the foundation will soon meet with Peter Sachs to arrange a rapid and mutually agreed solution of the ownership issues, and who holds them," they said in a statement.
In regards to the ruling, Mr. Sachs was rendered speechless.
"I can't describe what this means to me on a personal level,” he said.
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