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Jewelry with Nazi ties fetches record prices at Christie’s auction amid controversy



(JTA) — A blockbuster jewelry auction at Christie’s is drawing criticism because of the gems’ ties to a Nazi.

The pieces sold Monday belonged to the late Heidi Horten, an Austrian art collector whose husband, Helmut Horten, was a Nazi Party member. The items fetched a total of $202 million, making the auction the largest jewelry sale in history.

Some Jewish groups had urged Christie’s to halt the sale, citing Helmut Horten’s record during the Nazi era, when he amassed a fortune after buying businesses whose Jewish owners sold them under duress, often at steeply discounted prices. Horten used that wealth to propel his company, which ultimately was responsible for introducing American-style supermarkets in Germany.

Heidi Horten was born in 1941 and was more than 30 years younger than her husband. When he died in 1987, she inherited nearly $1 billion, according to The New York Times. Heidi Horten died last year at age 81.

Associations representing Jews and Holocaust survivors criticized the auction because of the origin of the wealth that paid for the jewelry. David Schaecter, president of Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation USA, said the auction continues “a disgraceful pattern of whitewashing Holocaust profiteers,” according to the Times.

“Christie’s must suspend this sale until full research [into the] link to Nazi era acquisitions [is] completed,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement earlier this month urging Christie’s to halt the auction. “Don’t reward those whose families may have gained riches from desperate Jews targeted and threatened by the Nazis.”

Christie’s also drew fire for not initially including any mention of the Jewish businesses in its marketing materials for the auction. Its website now includes a brief note stating that the provenance of Horten’s wealth is “a matter of public record. The business practices of Mr. Horten during the Nazi era, when he purchased Jewish businesses sold under duress, are well documented.”

The auction house has committed to donating a portion of its commission to organizations that contribute to Holocaust research and education. It did not specify which organizations would receive the funds, saying only in a statement that it would be up to those organizations to “communicate about these donations.”

Proceeds from the sale of the jewels will be donated to the Heidi Horten Foundation, which supports children’s welfare and medical research, in addition to funding the Heidi Horten Collection, an art museum in Vienna. The museum boasts works by Pablo Picasso and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as well as Jewish artists such as Marc Chagall, who escaped the Nazis, and Roy Lichtenstein.

The museum’s website includes a brief mention of Helmut Horten’s wealth accumulation under the Nazis, stating that Heidi Horten hired a historian to research and write “​​a scientific report on Helmut Horten’s build-up of assets and business in the context of ‘Aryanization’ during the ‘Third Reich.’”

That report, which was published last year, concluded that while Horten benefited from his purchase of Jewish-owned businesses, he was not an enthusiastic Nazi and was expelled from the party, and briefly imprisoned, near the end of World War II.

“There is not a saint and not a devil, but there is Horten who … benefited from the circumstances of the tyranny of the Nazis,” the historian, Peter Hoeres, told the Associated Press. “You can’t say Horten was part of the resistance against the dictatorship.”

The Heidi Horten Foundation appears to be separate from a foundation bearing the name of her husband. On the website of the Helmut Horten Foundation, a page with a biography of Horten does not mention Jews, the Holocaust or the Nazi Party by name, though it does have a short section referencing Hoeres’ report. It says Horten was a “liberal,” and that the foundation “considers it extremely important to review and understand its founder’s history in the best possible way.”

“This auction is doubly indecent,” Yonathan Arfi, chairman of CRIF, the umbrella organization for French Jewry, said in a statement. “The funds that made it possible to acquire these jewels are partly the result of the Aryanization of Jewish property carried out by Nazi Germany, but in addition, this sale will contribute to a foundation whose mission it is to ensure the name of a former Nazi for posterity.”

More than 400 pieces of Heidi Horten’s jewelry were sold in the auction, both online and in person in Geneva, Switzerland, including jewels from brands Bulgari, Van Cleef and Arpels, Cartier, and Harry Winston, with many diamond, pearl, and colored gemstone pieces individually estimated to be worth millions of dollars. The last 300 lots from Horten’s collection are scheduled to be sold in November.

The post Jewelry with Nazi ties fetches record prices at Christie’s auction amid controversy appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

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Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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