Cornyn, Cruz, Blumenthal, Schumer Bill to Help Recover Nazi-Confiscated Art Passes Judiciary Committee
by John Cornyn on September 15, 2016 at 5:11 PM
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (HEAR) which was introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The HEAR Act will help facilitate the return of artwork lost to Nazis during the Holocaust to their rightful owners or heirs, and will ensure that American law encourages the resolution of claims on Nazi-confiscated art on the merits, in a fair and just manner. Doing so is consistent with long-standing U.S. foreign policy, as demonstrated in the 1998 Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art and the 2009 Terezin Declaration.
“Nothing will make up for the terror and pain suffered by the victims during such a dark and horrific time in history,” said Sen. Cornyn. “For the families of those who lost everything at the hands of the Nazis, hopefully today serves as an important and symbolic step to reclaiming not just artwork, but familial legacy.”
"Although more than 70 years have passed since the Holocaust, it is never too late to do the right thing. The quest to reunite the families of Holocaust victims with their stolen heritage is ultimately a quest to help them reclaim a tangible link to a happier time in their family’s history—a time before the darkness of the Holocaust. That is far more valuable than whatever economic value the works of art or cultural artifacts might have today. Indeed, that is priceless,” said Sen. Cruz. “The HEAR act sends a clear signal that we continue to reject every noxious vestige of the Nazi regime. I appreciate the leadership of Sens. Cornyn, Schumer, and Blumenthal on this issue and am looking forward to continuing to work with all my colleagues in Congress to pass it into law."
“Decades after the Holocaust, families of victims and survivors alike are still seeking their belongings that were stripped away from them. While we can never right the wrongs of the Holocaust, it is our moral duty to help those survivors and their families achieve what justice can be found. This legislation is a drop of justice in what was an ocean of injustice – but it is our duty as legislators to give these families the opportunity to have their day in court,” said Sen. Schumer.
“The theft of art by the Nazi regime was more than a pilfering of property—it was an act of inhumanity,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “Today’s action brings us one step closer to providing simple justice to families whose cherished art was brazenly stolen by the Nazis. It is long past time to return the ill-gotten gains of one of history’s vilest villains.”