Politics

Cornyn, Cruz Sponsor Bill To Help Recover Nazi-Looted Artwork

The legislation would help Holocaust survivors and victims’ families with long, costly court battles to get private museums to return their property.

Over a dozen years, Nazi Germany staged one of the largest art thefts in world history. The regime looted museums from all across Europe. It also stole or forced the sale of art owned by Jews, many of whom were later murdered. Now, Republican Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are sponsoring a bill to help the families of Holocaust victims to recover stolen artwork. (The proposed legislation can be read below.)

Holocaust survivors and victims’ families often face long, expensive legal fights, when trying to recover artworks now held by private museums.

“What we faced here in the United States were a variety of different statutes of limitations on claims,” says Victoria Coates, senior foreign policy advisor to Senator Cruz. “Some of them were so extreme as to have said that the clock had started ticking at the time of the thefts, and a lot of institutions were just trying to run out the clock, which really seemed shameful.”

The bill would enact a new, federal standard of limitations in such cases. Under it, the count would start on the date an artifact is identified as stolen, rather than the date of the theft.

Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut have cosponsored the legislation with Cornyn and Cruz.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which all four men serve.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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