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7 Egon Schiele portraits to be returned to heirs of Jewish cabaret star murdered in the Holocaust

(JTA) — Seven artworks by Egon Schiele will be returned to the heirs of a Jewish cabaret performer who had owned the pieces before being murdered in the Holocaust.

The works, most of them portraits of Schiele himself or his wife, were part of a massive art collection owned by the Viennese performer, Fritz Grünbaum, and are estimated to be worth a total of approximately $9.5 million. Grünbaum’s collection also included works by Albrecht Dürer, Auguste Rodin and Camille Pissarro, along with a total of 81 pieces by Schiele, an Austrian expressionist painter active in the early 20th century.

Before being seized by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office earlier this year, the works were in the possession of several prestigious institutions, including New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, Morgan Library, Vally Sabarsky Trust and Ronald Lauder Collection, as well as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. All seven portraits were seized and voluntarily surrendered by the institutions after they were shown evidence that the works were stolen by the Nazis.

The restitution announcement was made on Wednesday by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Ivan J. Arvelo, a special agent in charge at a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The effort by Timothy Reif and David Frankel — heirs and co-executors of the Grünbaum estate — to reacquire the Schiele paintings has lasted more than 25 years and has been marked by legal battles due both to statutes of limitations and disputed claims. One claim alleged that the paintings were never stolen, and were instead in the custody of a relative of the Grünbaum family for the duration of the war, until they were sold to art collectors.

Last week, three other Schiele works believed to have come from the Grünbaum collection were seized by Bragg’s office from the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Ohio.

Schiele’s work was popular among Jewish art collectors, and was considered “degenerate” art, along with a wide range of other modernist works, by the Nazis. In October 2022, two of Schiele’s paintings, previously in Grünbaum’s collection, were auctioned for charity by Grünbaum’s descendants through Christie’s to support up-and-coming performing artists from underrepresented backgrounds.

As a cabaret artist, Grünbaum performed as a master of ceremonies and wrote operettas and songs. He was also known for his political activity: In 1910, when an Austrian officer made antisemitic remarks, Grünbaum slapped him and was challenged to a duel in which he was injured. In the 1930s, Grünbaum became a vocal critic of the Nazis both in his performances and in a weekly column for a Viennese daily newspaper.

In 1938, Grünbaum and his wife Elisabeth were arrested by the Nazis and he was forced to sign a document giving her power of attorney. Elisabeth was then forced to sign a paper claiming she voluntarily turned over her husband’s art collection to the Nazis. Grünbaum gave his last performance at the Dachau infirmary on Dec. 31, 1940. He died of tuberculosis two weeks later. Elisabeth is presumed to have died at the Maly Trostenets concentration camp near Minsk in 1942.

The post 7 Egon Schiele portraits to be returned to heirs of Jewish cabaret star murdered in the Holocaust appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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