Stolen art from World War II in Hungarian museums: The Herzog case

It was almost five years ago that I devoted a post to the dispute between the Herzog family and the Hungarian government over the priceless pieces of art that are currently in the possession of several state-owned Hungarian museums, like the Museum of Fine Arts, the Hungarian National Gallery, and the Museum of Applied Arts. The Herzog collection is the largest unsettled case of stolen art during and after World War II, and Hungary has the dubious distinction of being the only country besides Russia that refuses to relinquish art stolen from European Jews.

Zurbarán, Cranach, the Elder, El Greco Credit: Hirko Masuike, The New York Times

Zurbarán, Cranach the Elder, El Greco
Credit: Hirko Masuike, The New York Times

In that post I concentrated on the legal aspects of the case because at the time three heirs of Baron Mór Lipót Herzog, after getting nowhere in Hungarian courts, decided to continue their efforts in the United States. The Hungarian government was certain that the case would be dismissed on the grounds that a U.S. court has no jurisdiction. But on September 1, 2011 Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of the U.S. District Court in Washington rejected Hungary’s arguments in favor of dismissing the lawsuit. The most important consequence of this ruling was that Hungary had to provide a detailed description of all the art treasures of questionable origin held by state-owned museums as well as any other state institution. Up to that point Hungarian authorities had kept all information about these items secret, even though the country had signed several international agreements regarding the compensation of victims of the Holocaust.

After September 2011 I read practically nothing about the case, with the exception of one brief news item that appeared in Bloomberg. According to the article, dated April 16, 2013, “János Lázár, chief of staff to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, said that his office is preparing a list of works of art of disputed ownership in Hungarian museums with the aim of returning looted objects to the rightful owners.” The lawyer for the Herzogs in Hungary, Ágnes Peresztegi, was elated. She announced that “the decision has enabled the government to distance itself from the previous governments’ policy of attempting to use legal technicalities to avoid restitution of looted art.” David de Csepel, great-grandson of Lipót Herzog, who is in charge of the family’s legal efforts, was also optimistic. Yet, three years later the case still hasn’t been settled.

For the third time, the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C. has just ruled in favor of the Herzog family. Most likely the Hungarian government will appeal again. As far as the list of looted items is concerned, we haven’t heard anything on the subject since Lázár’s announcement in 2013. However, I think everybody would be interested in what kind of an art collection we are talking about, so let me turn to Mór Lipót Herzog and his incredible collection.

The family would like to get back 44 paintings, although the original collection had over 2,200 items, which have either been lost or scattered all over the world. Just to give an idea of the value of these paintings, the government commissioner in charge of cataloguing art work said back in 1945 that “the Mór Herzog collection contains treasures the artistic value of which exceeds that of any similar collection, ranking just behind Madrid.”

The few paintings that Hungary got back from the American occupying forces in Germany made the Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts one of the important depositories of the works of El Greco. His The Agony in the Garden (c. 1608) alone is worth about $100 million, but several other paintings are also worth millions: Portrait of Saint Andrew, The Portrait of Saint Anthony of Padua, The Holy Family with Saint Anne, and The Disrobing of Christ, to mention a few. The loss of the El Greco paintings would mean a serious blow to the Museum of Fine Arts.

Baron Mór Lipót Herzog's study in the 1910s

Baron Mór Lipót Herzog’s study in the 1910s

Interestingly, not much can be found online about the Herzogs. Baron Mór Lipót csetei Herzog still has no entry in the Hungarian Wikipedia. The Magyar zsidó lexikon (1929) merely notes that he was an art collector. To learn more about him I had to turn to William O. McCagg, Jr’s invaluable book, Jewish Nobles and Geniuses in Modern Hungary (1972).

The founder of the family, Adolf Herzog, was a grain trader who became a wool and tobacco merchant after he arrived in Pest from Baranya County in 1836. His son Péter took over the firm in 1862. While his father just managed to survive, Péter made some very good investments in the 1860s and 1870s, as a result of which he became a prime shareholder in the Viktoria flour mill, which was one of Pest’s largest. He also remained active in the tobacco trade and became a major Central European handler of Balkan and Turkish tobacco. He dabbled in the Hungarian coal and chemical industries. And by 1900 the Herzogs also had an interest in a commercial bank. As McCagg says, “such was the dynamism of the Hungarian take-off economy, in sum, that the Herzogs, originally grain traders, became bankers.” (p. 153) Péter received nobility in 1886.

The Herzog family in 1931-1932

The Herzog family in 1931-1932

Mór Lipót, Péter’s son, was an extremely wealthy man who could spend huge sums of money on his passion, art. I might also add that he was married to Baroness Janka Hatvany Deutsch, a member of another wealthy and influential Hungarian-Jewish family, and their children married into the Weiss family, also one of the richest ennobled Jewish families of the era.

For many years we knew very little about the journey these paintings made in 1944-45, but lately we have learned quite a bit about the details from a study by Jennifer Otterson of Columbia University. Before the war, the collection was kept at the Herzogs’ house on Andrássy Boulevard. When Mór Lipót died in 1934, he left the collection to his daughter Erzsébet Herzog Weiss de Csepel and two sons, István and András. In April 1944 the Herzogs hid their art treasures in the cellar of one of the family’s factories, but the Nazis found the hiding place and took the art to Eichmann’s headquarters for inspection. Eichmann promptly shipped much of the looted collection to Germany. In 1946-47 the Americans returned paintings they recovered to the state of Hungary with the instruction that “the Hungarian museums [could] receive the paintings but only for the express purpose of safeguarding them until their owners could be identified and located.”

Some of the collection was taken by the Soviets, and a number of pieces ended up in the State Hermitage Museum, the Pushkin Museum, and in Nizhny Novgorod. How did they end up there? There are two possibilities. Either the Soviet Army took them directly from Budapest or the Nazis sent them to Germany, where they were then found by the Soviets and taken to Russia. By now, art historians who have studied the case are pretty certain that Soviet troops found the works in Germany.

How long will the Herzogs have to wait to get part of their property back? They have been waiting for the last seventy years, during which many of the heirs of Mór Lipót Herzog have died. David de Csepel is a relatively young man who was chosen to represent the family, mostly because of his age. The hope is that he will see the day when his great-grandfather’s collection is returned, in part, to the family.

There was one point at which it looked as if the two sides could come to a peaceful resolution of the claim. When István Hiller was minister of education and culture (2006-2010), the Herzogs offered to settle: they would have been satisfied with compensation amounting to 50% of the market value of the paintings. The Hungarian government decided against the settlement. I guess they are hoping that eventually even the 45-year-old David de Csepel will die and with him the case.

June 7, 2016
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Wondercat
Guest

A remarkable tale. Thank you for telling it.

Guest

Looting by the Hungarian state and by countless individual Hungarians has become a thoroughly entrenched attribute of Hungarian mores, public and individual ethics and social culture over the past eighty years.

First it was the looting and expropriation of Hungarian Jews by both the state and individual Hungarians under Horthy and Szállasi, followed immediately by the looting and expropriation of the the remnant middle classes under Rákosi, then the opportunistic looting of Kádár era state property by those individuals who could, then the wholesale looting of national assets through robber privatization after the regime change, and since 2010 the systematic looting of EU cohesion funds, the expropriation of private pension funds by the state, the looting and misappropriation of funds earned by the Hungarian National Bank, and all of this in an environment of exponentially accelerating state and individual corruption since about 2004.

An entrenched, disgusting culture of looting, as repulsive as the political environment of intolerant nationalism in which it thrives, like mould in a dirty petri dish.

Guest

Re: ‘like mold in a dirty petri dish’

Such a beautiful smell, eh? And I’ve seen the audacity of trying to loot private assets of those who emigrated here, who worked day and night to save for that ‘rainy day. Legally, they did not have a leg to stand on in their ‘hold up’ as they attempted to get ‘their’ dollars on the cheap. One then learned how Magyar lawyers liked to listen to alot of fiction.

Guest

Recovering the looted paintings and artefacts will become even more difficult for the Herzog family now that the Fine Art Museum is closed for several years, apparently in order to renovate the building.

I say “apparently” because it is impossible to believe anything Orbán and his criminal fraternity says, being past masters at lying and obfuscating.

The government has only one agenda – to loot and pillage, just as Nazis and later the Russians did before, during, and after WWII.

The looting and pillaging is not just restricted to EU funds, which were allocated to improve hospitals and education and to improve Hungary’s infrastructure,
but also includes Orbán excercising largesse to his friends by “lending” them priceless art works from the Fine Art Museum.

This is why the government is backward in coming forward with the paintings.

I would suggest to the Herzogs that they send detectives to the homes of the Fidesz mob. I am quite certain that many of the art works will be seen proudly hanging ontheir walls, without an ounce of shame or penitence.

Guest

Well said! You covered all I wanted to say! But more eloquently.

webber
Guest

This is not just Fidesz’s crime
The socialists were in power for 12 years (4+8), many of those years with their SZDSZ allies, and they, too, did everything they could to block the return of the art to the family.
Szégyen!

webber
Guest

This reminds me of a conversation I had with the SZDSZ adviser who drafted Hungary’s data-protection law. The law then prevented Americans and other non-Europeans from looking at the personal data in files less on WWII. One researcher, who wanted to find out precisely what happened to her ancestors before they were sent to Auschwitz, was denied access. This SZDSZ adviser said that was precisely what should happen, because (I quote) “The victims should be protected.” (he bleated that). I felt like vomiting, so turned my back on him and terminated the conversation, and never talked with him again.
Sickening lot, every one of them (sorry for those with fond memories of the past – better than Fidesz, I am the first to say that, but still…)

webber
Guest

(cut the word “less” above, in the 2nd sentence – sorry)

Guest

I too have had a run-in with Hungarian ‘Data Protection’ so called Dr Palvari – or something like that.
Due to a mis-placed wish for an address card they have more on me than the average Hungarian citizen – not safely stored at all.
The EU have told them that they MUST destroy it (I appealed to Brussels and won) but they won’t.
A ‘data-protection’ law unto themselves.
They don’t have a clue.

Guest

‘Dr’ Peterfalvi & ‘Dr’ Péter Kimpián.

Hungary’s data us safe in their hands. Oh yea!

Guest

London Calling!

I remember your original post five years ago! Goodness how time flies!

“János Lázár, chief of staff to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, said that his office is preparing a list of works of art of disputed ownership…….”

It will be a very ‘slow’ list.

I can see the smirk on Lázár’s face as he tells his minions “just add two works to the list this month”. “Don’t retrieve the ‘Harbonys’ just yet……..”

It will stick in craw of Orban, Lázár and not forgetting Looter-in-Chief M8tolcsy – because yet again it’s the US calling them to account.

They can loot the EU and Hungarians all they like with impunity – but the US is another matter.

Please please hang on Herzogs!

O/T There’s a survey reported on the BBC this morning that says all the EU countries are losing enthusiasm for the EU – except “Hungary and Poland”. I don’t suppose it’s because they are two of the biggest net receivers is it? Oh no!

Pappp
Guest
Ok, let’s make this case clear. Average Hungarians lost their property, land, real estate, were forced from the land they lived on for generations, were taken to Gulags, had their savings wiped out several times (in several defaults and hyper-inflations) during the last 70 years and then some people come here and want their – actually not their but supposedly inherited – personal property back in kind??? The rest (millions of Hungarians) had to be satisfied with kárpótlási jegyek (compensation coupons) which were issued after the fall of communism in most CEE countries and which operated as quasi-money during the 1990s. Obviously the received amounts had nothing to do with the actual damages suffered. It was a joke, but this is how much the state could afford. These paintings are owned by the state, not by individuals, the beneficiaries are the pubic, the citizens of Hungary, many of whom suffered probably more than the greedy heirs of the Herzog family. If anything it is exactly this kind of action which generates anti-semitism. The heirs aren’t satisfied with the same conditions that applied to all others, but they want special treatment – and not from a rich country, but a struggling… Read more »
webber
Guest

Bad case. Lousy. Sickening, actually – and you know why. (what is this “we”? Were your ancestors taken to be gassed?)
You know perfectly well that IF they could prove full ownership, ordinary Hungarians DID get their property back – IN FULL, as was proper (I know a few who did). If they could only prove partial ownership – say there were a lot of inheritors – they got the “kárpotlási jegy” (compensation coupons), with which they could buy real stocks, real shares, and could even purchase farms and other property (if they had enough coupons).

All that was proper. It is a shame (szégyen) that more people did not get more back.

What did the Herzog family get? Nothing.

It is NOT the property of the Hungarian state. It was stolen by the Nazis, and sent to Hungary under the condition that it be given back to the rightful owners.

Your collectivist idea that this “belongs to the nation” is either old communist nastiness, or neo-nazi (state nationalism) nastiness. Your choice.

Pappp
Guest
Webber, I’m sorry to tell you but this time you are totally wrong. No, in Hungary – as opposed to the Czech Republic for example – there was never “reprivatizáció”, ie. direct privatization to the former owners (except in the case of some church property, but even in the cases of the Catholic Church etc. they were compensated mostly in cash). What happened was two things, this is why you probably mix up things. Firstly, after 1990 tenants could purchase the real estate they lived in (but not other kinds of property) at a very low price for cash or even using loans with very low interest rate when inflation was 20-30% per annum (ie. within 2-3 years the loan was essentially worthless and thus the tenants obtained their property usually extremely cheaply). )One of the few places where this was not an option was District I, the Castle District. Obviously, many people who had their living places nationalized this way could buy back the property they lived in, often though other co-tenants had to be bought out. During nationalization of urban real estate, the former owners mostly continued to live in the property as tenants but if the real… Read more »
webber
Guest

Sorry old boy, but by your own account SOME people got back their families’ old properties, and I happen to know some of them personally.

What did the Herczogs get? Nothing.

And to reiterate something – the paintings do not “belong” to the Hungarian state – your argument simply falls to pieces on this point. The United States army sent the paintings to Hungary under the condition that they be returned to their rightful owners (who were Hungarian). Get over it. It is not the property of the nation. It is private property.

My guess is that you are a communist. Only a communist would argue as you have – clinging to “collective property” as if it were your own.
Why do you care? How will you be hurt if the family gets its rightful property back? It is very sad to see that people with such a mindset still exist. Collectivism is inhumane.

webber
Guest
P.S. First you lie that nobody got their property back. Then you admit that some people got their property back, but say it was because they bought it back with compensation tickets, blablabla, so my account was “wrong.” You again neglected to say something: IF the proper owners were found, and the property was in state possession and was going up for sale, the proper (original) owners had first right to bid on the property, using their “compensation coupons” effectively giving them the right to get their property back, with no competition, if they so wanted. If they wanted something else – they could buy something else. If they wanted to get their particular farm or vineyard or whatever back, they could use their coupons to do that. I personally know an old peasant family at Tihany who got every bit of the old family vineyard back because they all wanted it, and all agreed that is what they wanted. They didn’t spend a forint on it. They got first right, and used their compensation coupons for it and got it all back. So, again, I think you’ve lied for the sake of your argument – by leaving out the… Read more »
Pappp
Guest
Webber, please don’t call me a liar, instead try to understand the legal background which for non-lawyers a bit difficult, I admit. There is an extremely big difference between getting (back) a thing by operation of law (like through inheritance, like enforcing alleged property rights, as the Herzog family does it or through reprivatization, ie. contacting former owners and transferring title to them) and via a complicated system of privatization. In the second case it is a possible and rare outcome that you might obtain your former real (as opposed to personal) property, in the first case its automatic and sure (ie. it is an entitlement). It is a total coincidence that people in Tihany etc. could purchase the exact same plot of land which they previously owned. They got coupons, could spend it on various things but decided to spend on land which nobody else wanted (they had to bid and win the bidding process and were lucky that at that time in the early 1990’s such assets were not in demand so their own coupons were enough). Moreover, nobody could obtain lost personal property. The Herzog family members were I assume also entitled to HUF 5m of coupons… Read more »
Guest

Are you Dániel Papp?

(Apart from being ‘wired’)?

webber
Guest

You are a liar. Why shouldn’t I call you one?

Guest

You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand that the art was only returned by the US on condition it was returned to its original owners – held by the State temporarily.

The St. Stephen’s gold crown was returned by President Carter in 1978 having been passed from a Hungarian colonel.

How would you feel if the US claimed it and held it one of their museums?

I know from experience – lawyers don’t always understand the law – and certainly not the moral aspect.

Baksis
Guest

charliecharlieh you have a wrong example. The Holy crown was not a private property, but the property of Hungarian state.

You can’t understand the moral aspect. If Hungarian aristocrats and industrialist had no right to get back the full market price of their lost wealth , (It was limited to 5M Ft) than why should we give back the paintings or their market price to the Herzog family?

Guest

No – you don’t understand.

I never said the crown was privately held (I’m not that ignorant – thanks). It was an allegory to understand a moral issue.

Member
Almost everyone was able to claim their lost estate or possession back through the past decades in Hungary. Compensations were paid, lands and estates could be “reclaimed”, not necessary by a straight deal by both other means. Properties that were last because of “act of God” or war could not be claimed back, and neither could be lives. Having paintings that rightful owners are claiming, held back is a crime. There is no ambiguity, and no questions about who the real owners were. It is as clear cut as it can be. The painting are not bombed, and burnt, but hanging on walls. What it greed had to do with the rightful owners. If you are so inclined to help the long suffering citizens of Hungary, why don’t you forfeit whatever possession you have? It is not communism in Hungary any longer, in case you missed the last quarter century. How much is the Orban’s family suffering? They were not chased away from their homeland. Why aren’t you taking up the issue of “the pubic, the citizens of Hungary, many of whom suffered” with the Orban family? What right do you think you have to decide that stolen paintings belong… Read more »
Baksis
Guest

You can’t understand the moral aspect. If Hungarian aristocrats and industrialist had no right to get back the full market price of their lost wealth , (It was limited to 5M Ft) than why should we give back the paintings or their market price to the Herzog family?

webber
Guest

Because the paintings were returned under the condition that they be given to their rightful owners. Because the communists broke their word, and international law. Because international law stipulates that property expropriated by the Nazis (from anyone – not just from Jews) must be returned to its rightful owners or their descendants if they can be identified. Because it is the right thing to do.

You, in my view, can’t understand the moral aspect.

Saying “bad things were done to other people, so bad things can happen to these people” is what you are doing.

Member

Exactly!

Member

Webber, it seems as though you are talking to a rock. This is the looting and self entitled Hungarian attitude is a perfect example of what has been discussed so many times before. Baksis and Papp don’t understand the part where it was stolen and returned in TRUST to the Hungarian government. They do not seem to understand that this was NOT a nationalized property under communism such as farmland or vineyards or Art made into a national treasure or property. This is a privately owned painting that was given to Hungary in TRUST, so as it can be returned to its Hungarian owners. The mafia is simply doing the exact same thing as the commies and the Nazis did. Steal peoples assets and now act like they shouldn’t have to give it back because it is valuable. Papp has a lot of nerve talking about greed!

Member

Oh my. I think it is you who do not understand the moral aspect between keeping looted assets or returning them.
You also do not understand the difference between tangible and intangible. Painting are real assets. They are TANGIBLE assets. If they gain or loose their value, it does not matter, as it is a solid item you can put your hands on. The lawful owners did not ask for money, they are asking for their paintings that was stolen. It is the Hungarian government who wish (or not) to buy the paintings from them in order to keep it. It is the Hungarian government’s choice to do that.

petofi
Guest

As always, Hungaricoes had a special twist for those seeking to reclaim their property. Case in point:

An acquaintance of mine…back many years ago, was invited to return to Hungary and reclaim the family estate in the countryside. He happily returned, but a small surprise awaited him. “Sure,” they said, “we’ll give you
back your family’s property but you must remember that we have taken care of it for 60 years and had made repairs and improvements…” When my friend had asked how mauch he must pay, he was given a sum equal to the value of the property at that time. (No small amount, either.) In effect, the Hungaricoes wanted him to buy back his own property!

Clever, ain’t it?

HAJRA MAGYAROK!!

webber
Guest

Living in property and enjoying it counts as “taking care of it…” (I’ve heard the same story from one other person)
Truly unique. In most countries, the proper owner would surely have the right to sue for back rent x so many years – upkeep (which is never as much as rent – not even close).

Bowen
Guest

Off topic.
May I recommend this very good blog (which cites Hungarian Spectrum sometimes).
https://meanwhileinbudapest.com

I’m not affiliated with it in any way. But it has many valuable articles on Hungary.

Guest

Interesting reading….looking at Magyarorszag without the rose-tinted glasses..

OT

Commentary: ‘Socialist Emulation vs Capitalist Competition’…
I think it has to be said that in light of the past the country usually finds itself ‘a day late and a dollar short’ when it comes to decision-making and development in its infrastructure. Now when the country looks to the East it follows that when you ‘build’ with Vlad’s land you’re really only getting a corporation who moves mud the best. Magyarorszag could do better if they take the blinders off.

Guest

Yes, Bowen!
Especially this post by a Hungarian/Norwegian who’s leaving Hungary again – it could have appeared here, exactly the same reasoning.
https://meanwhileinbudapest.com/2016/06/04/7-reasons-i-am-leaving-hungary/

webber
Guest

The Herczog family should turn to European courts. The Hague would be a nice place to start. They’d win, and sooner or later the courts might direct that Hungary get fiscal punishment – possibly a withdrawal of EU funding – until Hungary delivers the artworks. That would clarify thinking in Bp.

Petofi, when I am reminded of stories like this, and see reactions like that from Pappp, I come pretty close to taking your line.

Guest

Interesting diagnosis of ‘communist’ thinking, webber.

In democracy and capitalism the rule of law and contract law prevail.

I can see it’s almost a wild west grab-fest when a country is in transition – that’s why the Nomenklatura families were in the front of the queue.

In (attempting) to go from communism and its thinking to democracy and its thinking requires a change of mindset.

However in adopting ‘democracy’ requires adopting contract law and the right of possession (against a collectivisation instinct!).

The Herzogs always had ownership from the original purchase slips (they don’t have to claim it) – as did all the Jews who lost their artefacts.

So contract law must prevail.

Even if a transaction occurred without the Herzogs involvement the paintings are still theirs.

In England if you buy a stolen car the owner still holds posession. The owner gets the car back and the purchaser loses their money. You must check provenance .

It’s been like this since the middle ages! Society would collapse without the rule of law.

I have seen some lovely antiques in BP in the flea markets – but refuse to buy because I can hear the distant sounds of happy united families – before they were stolen.

wired
Guest
This is ridiculous. By the way it’s only property law which is involved here (there is nothing contractual here). But there are such concepts as subscription, statute of limitation, adverse possession exactly because after many years (decades) it is better to leave things as they are instead of changing tings back to as they were many years ago. I am aware that under law the Herzogs’ may indeed have rights which are superior to the rights of the Hungarian state but what’s the difference between asking back the under colonialism looted treasures of the British Museum by Iran, Turkey or India (they won’t get far with their demands) and asking back property by the Herzog family? There isn’t much. Things change and people suffer and have to get over that. The Herzogs should do too, instead they would also benefit from not having any meaningful Hungarian wealth and inheritance tax. They just want something because some ancestor supposedly owned something 70 years ago. Well, my family owned a lot of things in what is now Romania but when things were taken away nobody said shit, that was life and you had to get used to it, if you were lucky… Read more »
webber
Guest

Pappp (wired)
Sorry, that too is a stupid argument. There is no statute of limitations on property taken by the Nazis. Look up the legislation if you don’t believe me. It is a point of international law agreed on by all civilized nations: if the owners or descendants of the owners of property looted by the Nazis can be identified, the property must be returned to them.

There is also no statute of limitations on murder, or on crimes against humanity, for your information.

webber
Guest

Wired (Pappp) – you said
“Well, my family owned a lot of things in what is now Romania but when things were taken away nobody said shit, that was life and you had to get used to it, if you were lucky you moved to Hungary.”

When did that happen? There was restitution in Romania for property taken during the communist period, AND there was restitution for property taken during land reform after Trianon. In 1931 Romania settled for quite a tidy little sum to Transylvanians living in Hungary, including Prime Minister Bethlen, for property confiscated.

It wasn’t the full value – but it was a lot more than the Herczog family ever got.

Do you work for the Hungarian government?

Guest

“Do you work for the government?”

Freedom House:

“In response to the backlash, MTI dismissed Gábor Élo, the head of the MTI department responsible for television news content. Élo’s deputy, Daniel Papp, was moved to a different position within the organization. Papp had been promoted to his latest position in April, not long after he personally manipulated interview footage with the aim of embarrassing an outspoken critic of Orbán.”

No ‘danial’ yet!

Guest
Guest

Re: ‘my family owned alot of things…..’

This ‘capitalist’ kulfoldi too in the form of property share. Never acted on actually testing it though. Bearing angst is something to avoid in Magyardom really.

After receiving an initial communication by the ‘lawyers’ it suggested to me that one would have to wait until hell freezes over if he wished to actually ‘claim’ that share in that ‘high watermark’ of Kadarian communism.

And then it appeared this
‘Mr. K’ would duly be taken down to the stygian depths of a Kafkian legal maze which would have no end in sight. A veritable Magyar ‘Jarnydyce and ‘Jarnydyce’. And then further the shakedown with ‘vam’ (tax). So with the exercise in futility I relenquished the share. Lesson: you never get anything ‘free’ over there even when you ‘own’ it. Not sure what happened to the share. Not even sure a relative got it as stipulated.

Baksis
Guest

You can’t understand the moral aspect. If Hungarian aristocrats and industrialist had no right to get back the full market price of their lost wealth , (It was limited to 5M Ft) than why should we give back the paintings or their market price to the Herzog family?

Reality Check
Guest

This is kindergarden logic – Because one group didn’t get a fair deal another group should also get a bad deal.

webber
Guest

Papp Wired =

webber
Guest

comment image

Pappp
Guest
This is one of those instances when someone raises several valid arguments against a liberal point of view and then immediately gets the label of a troll or a liar. I raised several valid arguments (many in theory, as I know that property rights have no statute of limitation etc. but the rationale still exist, if something has been one way for 70 years there are strong moral arguments in favor of not doing in integrum restitutio) which were ignored or baselessly denied (for the sake of simplicity, I’m not gonna defend them again). But the basic issue is that it just doesn’t feel right and I can assure everybody else that this doesn’t feel right to any average Hungarians. The previous governments also resisted the Herzogs because it didn’t seem right that people nothing to with Hungary (except for some ancestors) fly in and demand something off the wall of a museum — when millions of Hungarians suffered similarly and could not turn against anybody for in kind compensation. Like I could sue Putin because Soviet soldiers lived in my grandparents for months and took away stuff just because they liked it (fact). Hungarians endured and then some rich… Read more »
webber
Guest

Yes, you are a communist.

webber
Guest

So, if somebody murdered your great-grandfather, and got away with it, then it would be okay for someone in your family to murder the neighbor, then nobody should be prosecuted?

Because bad things were done to your ancestors by another state, other people should forget about the bad things that your state did to their ancestors?

That’s your logic. It is idiotic.

webber
Guest

Are you working for the Hungarian government?

Pappp
Guest

No, I never worked for any government and I’m not a communist either. I am a capitalist who thinks some things are better kept in public as opposed to private ownership.

Reality Check
Guest

Let’s get something straight. People were murdered to get art works from Jews. The Hungarian state should make peace with this family, instead of acting shamefully.

Guest

Papp is crazy imho:
someone raises several valid arguments against a liberal point of view
Wtf is that supposed to mean???

Pappp
Guest

The liberal point of view is that property rights are absolute and therefor they must be respected even decades later, disregarding any public justice or other arguments. That’s a liberal point of view which I criticize.

I think property rights cannot be so absolute as the Herzogs claim and in any case should not be so.

Or if you will I’m more communitarian re cultural property (but I’m no communist).

I’m surely not crazy either. Why would you say that?

But its interesting to see the comments. Criticizing the hand over of cultural goods to Jewish heirs based on a very liberal legal structure (the absoluteness of property rights) and I’m being called crazy, liar, a communist, a fidesznik. It’s actually quite amazing.

webber
Guest

But you are a communist!
No question about that.

outsidein
Guest
Don’t make a fool out of yourself Webber. There is state (public ownership) everywhere even in the most ardently capitalist, small-government countries. Even the US has countless state enterprises, let alone Singapore (which even owns most real estate there) etc. You have no idea about the most basic concepts of property law either. There exists only a very limited concept of property rights without direct state regulation, state restrictions. You are not allowed to destroy your house without a license, if you own agricultural land you must keep tending it (can’t leave it fallow for years), if you have a car you must pay insurance after it, you cannot obtain many drugs without subscription, if you have a TV set you must register and pay a tax after it, you are not allowed to own rare animals, you cannot own various chemical substances at all so on and on. It’s not like ownership is absolute and unrestricted. Moreover a sovereign can always, under any circumstances nationalize anything – however it must pay compensation. The Herzogs cannot demand the paintings but they may demand monetary compensation – which then raises the question why will they get it and why millions won’t?… Read more »
webber
Guest

No, you have made a fool of yourself.
Read up on international regulations on restitution of property taken by the Nazis. You have no clue.
The Herzogs can demand the paintings.
Who are you to represent what “the public” thinks?
Your knowledge of property rights is lousy too.
Nice try with the straw man argument – but look again: I never said there was no state ownership anywhere. I am quite aware of it.
You are not aware of the rights of private owners in a capitalist system, apparently.

Outsidein… Let me guess – a new moniker for Papp and wired?

webber
Guest

Incidentally, I called Pappp a liar in part because he appeared under a new name (wired) to make it appear that other people agree with him.
Are you Pappp? If you are, the lie is getting boring. Try a new one.

outsidein
Guest

You call someone a communist because he/she prefers public ownership for a limited set of things (old artifacts) where you prefer the sanctity of private ownership. It is logical than to call your attention to public ownership whose existence does not imply communism.

webber
Guest

By that standard, there should be no market for old art. It all should be confiscated. That’s a communist idea, as I said – no respect for private property (what does age have to do with anything?).

Guest

!!! Property rights are absolute! He/she who owns has!

There are inheritance taxes and death duties but if the owner owns and wants to keep then nothing can separate them as long as they pay a fair inheritance tax in a fair system.

It’s not a liberal ideal. It’s an absolute.

Do you own any real-estate you want to pass on to your heirs? Paintings?

It’s the rule of law.

I have never had so many ‘legal’ disputes as I have in Hungary from buying car parts to lawnmowers, cakes and services.

It’s the rule of law in the EU.

But an ‘attitude’ in Hungary.

Goodness?

Member

What is the liberal point of view? Last time I checked the “capitalist point of view”, stolen goods had to be returned to their rightful owner, statutes of limitation do not apply to war crimes. I believe morally all looted arts should be returned, or fair compensation should be paid by the “new owners”. Is this liberal or conservative thinking? Can you enlighten me?

Member

Quit twisting this to suit your argument! This was given to Hungary in TRUST! It was not confiscated by the Hungarian government during communism! It was STOLEN art recovered by the Americans and returned to Hungary under an AGREEMENT to return the works to it rightful owner! Not once was it to be put into the category of property reparations by the Hungarian government. Papp, it appears your version of law may be correct, and you may be able to touch a nerve in the hearts of other Hungarians who did not get their properties returned, but your arguments are not based on facts, if in fact you weren’t bullshitting everyone about how Hungary acquired the painting. So thanks for the touching stories of Soviets stealing things from your grandmothers living room but it has no comparison or relevancy here.

Guest

Since this state of affairs has existed for decades it would appear Magyar governments subscribe to an old quip where ‘possession is nine tenths of the law’. They look to be holding on dearly to that legal ‘tenet’ probably started by much earlier ‘rip-off’ artists.

webber
Guest

Let me remind some pundits here that the Herzogs lost a LOT MORE than a few paintings.
They also lost estates, wealth, and – worst of all – members of their family. Some of the plaintiffs in the case lost their father, Andras Herzog, who was press ganged in a Hungarian forced-labor battalion in 1942.
Story here: http://www.hungarylootedart.com/?page_id=30
And all they want back are their paintings. They are not asking for their estates. They are not asking for their palaces. They are not asking for their seized bank accounts. They are not asking for their furniture, their cash, their chattels. They just want their paintings.

I would say that is less than 1/10 of what they lost.

Guest

Just imagine how ‘Great’Hungary would be now if it hadn’t made that bad string of decisions.

Not just the human tragedy – which we mustn’t diminish.

In England we have the ‘National Trust’ which takes into its care the great properties of the past – insisting on endowments to ensure their future.

These properties are then open to the public (did you hear that M8tolcsy? Open To The Public!) for the eternal future as owned by the people.

Yes there are negatives but they are a fascinating snapshot of history and very pleasant way of learning history.

Imagine visiting Hungary and visiting the Herzog’s estate and seeing all that art?

Like Tate Britain (from the Tate family).

And so much else.

Guest

Of course, the bad decisions continue…….

Guest
Re: National Trust, Tate… etc… Perhaps that does show the different relationship deep down between art with the state in the two countries.It would appear in Orban country art’s utility is attached to something operating more as a commodity to be hidden away rather than as a unifier within the world expounding on the entire experience and feelings inherent in the human condition. I’m not too sure Magyarorszag’s governmental cultural ‘servants’ have that type of feeling. Art to them must produce different associations and exist only for its political use. A ‘connection’ seems to have been lost as a result of the past inflicting much injury. As a result art and the curatorship of it suffers. Earlier I had been surprised that the Parthenon sculptures were ‘lent’ to Russia and given in the spirit of cultural diplomacy. Considering the symbolism which underlies the chiseled stones. I would be surprised again if the sculptures would indeed come one day to Fidesz’s land couched in the rhetoric of cultural diplomacy. In that case there would certainly be a disjunct between the symbolic reality and the actual. And again we’d see a government trying to show a reality that only exists in dreams.
petofi
Guest

re: ‘wants back’…

Nice sidelight here: in my researches I discovered that the wiley Swiss–who’s country’s national fortune is not based on watches and chocolates–did some fine tricks of their own. In the case of jewish accounts, during the war, the various banks went into the safety deposit boxes, extracted the insurance policies….and sold them back to the insurance companies at 10 cents on the dollar. In our particular case, Credit Suisse informed us that my grandfather’s safety deposit box contents were
confiscated for non-payment of fees.

Guest

Has restitution of stolen goods been a theme in literature? Yes.

The restitution of stolen horses is the theme of one of the masterworks of German romantic literature, the novel Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich von Kleist. After a long fight Michael Kohlhaas got his horses back by court order and was then executed for the means he had applied to achieve it.

petofi
Guest

Jean P.–I saw the movie based on this.

Guest

But he still had his horses!

I’m sure there’s a Month Python sketch here somewhere!

tappanch
Guest

The international reserves of the Hungarian National Bank reached a new low on May 31.

March 31, 2013: 36.197 billion euros (Matolcsy’s month of takeover)

November 30, 2015: 33.140

May 31, 2016: 25.462, a 23.2% or 7.7 billion euro decrease in the last 6 months.

webber
Guest

Another comment for the pundit(s) running under various names:
If the Hungarian government were to announce it is returning the paintings, and that it is proud to do correct yet another injustice of communism, a lot of Hungarians would be proud, and a few would be upset. I bet more would be proud than upset.

If the Hungarian government were to insinuate that this is a greedy bunch of Jews trying to take state property….

The first act would be one to make Hungary look beautiful, an act that could make all Hungarians proud.

The second is the sort of small-hearted pettiness that makes humanity blush in shame for Hungarians.

outsidein
Guest
You bet the second option will apply. It’s flabbergasting that some people won’t leave Hungarians alone even after 70 years. Instead of getting on with their lives they want to take advantage of Hungary and are still obsessed with the riches of their ancestors. I contend that this greediness what partly causes, maintains anti-semitism. This case is the realization in the eye of the public of the stereotypical money-obsessed American Jew trying to take advantage of poor Hungarians. Like the rural Hungarian Jewish loansharks before 1945 who had the undisputed legal right to hold poor Hungarian peasants accountable when they failed with their payments but the unsavory reputation of such Jewish moneymen didn’t increase the Jews’ reputation in rural places. Like or not that’s what people will think. But yes, it’s mine (enyimé) so I want it no matter what. I get it. I also think that the US court has no jurisdiction and as far as I know the judgement would not be enforced in Hungary since a US courts would not enforce a Hungarian commercial judgement either. The US court cannot adjudicate on the ownership of things which are located in Hungary and whose ownership stem from Hungarian… Read more »
webber
Guest

“won’t leave Hungarians alone” FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!

Hungarians are the VICTIMS! It’s the Hungarian state that won’t leave people alone, that takes people’s property even today (private pensions – my family’s for example).

It’s you communists who won’t leave Hungarians alone, and you hide, as you always do, behind the slogan of the common good – as in it’s not in the common good to give stolen property back to its owners. Like hell it isn’t!

webber
Guest

Finally antisemitism comes out – “Jewish loan sharks”, “Jews’ reputation.”
?????

outsidein
Guest

I knew it, I knew it, I may even have written it on purpose, anti-semitism also comes up now. I’m not gonna address that stupidity.

webber
Guest

You “may even have written it on purpose”? What did you not write on purpose?

Member

So what you are saying is you purposely came across as antisemitic so you could turn it around on webber when he points out your portraying yourself as antisemitic? Wow, so you can say you are not going to address that stupidity? I think it was pretty stupid of you to purposely try to trap webber, then admit that’s what you did, then act as though webber is being stupid? Stupidity in all forms right there!

Guest
@outsidein June 8, 2016 3:09 pm All your posts here are just a seething mass of specious arguments, shameless obfuscations, fudging and conflation of like and unlike, in essence antisemitic maszatolás. My, my – “[Jewish] greediness . . . maintains antisemitism;” “a stereotypical money-obsessed American Jew trying to take advantage of poor Hungarians;” “the rural Hungarian Jewish loansharks before 1945;” “the unsavory reputation of such Jewish moneymen.” I am surprised you don’t also mention in the same breath the Lenin Boys and the four and a half month of red terror in 1919. I don’t intend to argue about any of this with you, because it would just be a complete waste of breath. You seem to have swallowed lock, stock and barrel the antisemitic bullshit you have been feeding on all your life, and quite obviously, antisemitism is by now too profoundly an entrenched part of your sense of identity for a rational conversation about the matters you raise. I do venture to say, however, that regardless of what your explicit or implicit political or ideological affiliations might be, the arguments in every one of your posts here show you up as an incredibly obtuse, ignorant and confused fellow… Read more »
Guest

outsidein became ‘persona non reada’ after the first couple of posts.
Just like ‘PALINKA’
Just like ‘Louise(!) Kovach’ remember him?!
Just like………(some others!)

webber
Guest

A restitution law – read up Pappp (et al.):
http://www.commartrecovery.org/docs/TheAustrianArtRestitutionLaw.pdf

outsidein
Guest

The Austrian GDP is almost 4 times the Hungarian – every year. Since just the fall of communism Austria produced 100 times the Hungarian GDP.

Austria is extremely rich. Hungary is poor. So there is a difference.

webber
Guest

Robin Hood. Or rather a communist, and a rather stupid one at that (how many names do you have, Pappp?)(
There is no difference. A work of art in a museum does not increase a country’s GDP. Giving it back to its rightful owner will not harm Hungary’s GDP.

By your communist standards, it would be perfectly fine for Burundi to take all the money of all Hungarians who visit Burundi, and to take all Hungarian state property, because Burundi is poorer than Hungary.

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his means is your mantra, isn’t it?

outsidein
Guest

Oh, my, yes, GDP will indeed not decrease but the GDP is just a metric which proves that the country is rich and the GDP implies that there are funds to compensate, purchase other pieces instead, whatever. But the assets (the balance sheet) will certainly decrease and it’s a loss for the nation. Less people will go to the Museum of Fine Art. I’m saying if Hungary has sat on the pictures for 70 years then it should be allowed to keep hanging them on the wall of a public museum. If the pictures would be seized or stolen now, they should be given back, sure. But time is a factor, after some time we should not rearrange things this way. It’s like for Burundi -in your example – were to ask for compensation from its colonial masters (Belgium) now, not when it got independent in1959 but almost 60 years later. I’m not sure the Belgians would be very open to that.

webber
Guest

“Less people will go to the Museum of Fine Art.”
B.S.
And as if that were a reason.
Immoral, communist, etatist, b.s.

Guest

And Laser Johnny aka Lázár (the guy with the anti speeding device in his car …) said:
If you have nothing then you are nothing …

Istvan
Guest
Here is a longer statement from the Art Institute of Chicago on the question of art works taken from Jews illegally that could have ended up it their collections and which should be returned to the owners or rightful inheritors or they should be provided compensation at market values. Following the statement I have a comment: “As a fundamental part of its mission, the Art Institute of Chicago has always conducted research on works in its collection. An important part of that research is the effort to establish the provenance (chain of ownership) for a work, from the moment it leaves the artist’s hands to the present. Since 1997, and in keeping with guidelines issued beginning in 1998 by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), the Art Institute has intensified its efforts to determine the provenance for the period 1933-1945 for paintings and sculpture in its collection. This research began with an initial survey of all the European paintings and sculpture in the collection that were created before 1946 and acquired by the museum after 1932. In accord with the AAM and AAMD Guidelines, the focus was on works acquired after 1932… Read more »
Guest

Great that the Art Institute has taken the lead when it comes to provenance of specific art works in its possession. For the future, in some cases we must expect the old saw grinding away again taking the US and its institutions to task for poking their noses into international affairs that they should keep out of. I am sure the Institute has a plan for dealing with a very difficult terrain ahead of them. The art world they will deal with is bereft of dilettantes today.

Member

Skimmed the exchanges with some bemusement. With all the hypotheses about the ideology of Pappp’s squeeks no one noticed the obvious one (glaringly there from the very first one onward): Pppp is not a communist or Fidite. He is an irredentist bigot. Here’s his aesthetic motivation:

comment image?w=640

webber
Guest

Who says a communist can’t be a bigot?

Member
Guest

And just to add…

It is not beyond belief that the paintings were by filched by Ribbentrop’s ‘Special Service Battalion’ set up to rival the ‘ERR’, Einsatzstab-Reichslieter Rosenberg. The latter was set up in France when the Nazis took over to confiscate art from Jews and sell them for artificially low prices. The SSB did their ‘work’ in the area of occupied Eastern Europe. And they not only stole from the Jews but from institutions where science was done , libraries and museums.

Gardonista
Guest

For what it’s worth, both the Nazis and Communists confiscated my family property. We got the apartment back in Budapest, but my grandmother wanted compensation for what we lost near the Balaton. My mom didn’t want to fight for it, and after a couple of years, I agree with my mom and not my grandmother.

I’d rather support my family as it is than fight the Horthyists-who-became-Communists-who-became-Fidesz.

webber
Guest

If you don’t fight them, if we all don’t fight them, they will just grow in power. And they will not leave you alone.
Not resisting never helped anyone. Think about what happened to those who did not resist.

Pappp
Guest
Webber, as they say choose your battles carefully. Fight when it’s important. Remaining obsessed about property lost almost a century ago is crazy. It’s similar to those would-be-kings who were deposed generations ago (Brazil, Albania, Romania etc.) but whose descendants still behave as though they were still entitled to the throne. Although there are more legal arguments in favor of giving back property, in such cases (rare pieces of art of cultural significance) should be kept in public museum accessible to all. They are not like any other goods like a microwave over or a car. Fetishizing private property for any and all things is insane. Many Hungarians still can’t get over Trianon (almost a 100 years later) and we (I assumed you too) reasonable say that that’s just too much. People need to cope and get over things. Mourning is important, but life must go on. I feel the same with the Herzog family which apparently can’t get over their losses after 70 years and apparently want to take advantage of the Hungarian public. Most people are like Gardonista, got some compensation coupons for some of the properties, with not too much value, we coped. Rich families apparently cannot… Read more »
Guest

Like Orbán’s family got rich and wants to become even richer?
Papppppp, you’re barking up the wrong tree!
But in a way you’re funny … 🙂

webber
Guest
pappp
Guest
It is really strange to see people act weird (do you call others a komcsi or a liar on a daily basis?) just because someone questions the sanctity of the property rights in a narrowly defined situation (cultural items having been in the possession of the state for 70 years). I don’t deny property rights in any further setting. I would also venture that it’s a pathologic thing (to be so obsessed about ownership), however exactly this shows why communism cannot work (see, I’m no communist). People do feel some attachment to items and it’s a visceral feeling. Of course property right (the term is a legal term) does not refer to a relationship between a thing and the owner but rather a relationship between the owner and all other non-owners, but non-lawyers (who usually don’t know about this aspect) just feel that something is “theirs”. Why can’t you accept that ownership is not absolute and sometimes the public restricts it and in this case such ownership should also be restricted? Of course I know very well that even people who often seem rational are anything but. (I’ll try to watch it in the evening, but I don’t care really… Read more »
Gardonista
Guest

I will take both Papp and Webber’s advice. I will chose my battles, but I will not stop fighting. Hungary is not the only country where private interests use government power to confiscate private property. It’s called Eminent Domain Abuse in the United States.

The fact that Nazis & Communists confiscated my family property in Hungary makes me want to fight Eminent Domain Abuse elsewhere.

Oh, and a little clarification: My family never got compensation for our land near the Balaton.

Guest

If the paintings because of circumstances and lapse of time do not belong to the family who was robbed of them they should be given back to the countries whose cultural heritage they are. Give the Zurbarans and the el Grecos back to Spain and the Cranachs to Germany. The Munkacsys if any can stay in Hungary.

webber
Guest

The paintings belong to the family. Look at German and Austrian practice – both those countries actively look for owners of property looted by the Nazis.

Istvan
Guest
I accept Pappp’s own statement that he is not a supporter of what most would commonly consider communism in the context of Central Europe. I don’t agree with some of Pappp’s ideas on the ability of nation states to take property without reasonable compensation based on market values because the government has created a uniform compensation system for seized property. In the United States we have a largely rural property rights movement that opposes the right of the government to regulate in any way property, for example that movement opposes what is called “eminent domain rights” of all governments, local, state, and federal. On the other hand this same movement believes western cattle ranchers should have unlimited ability to graze their stock on public land controled by the federal government without regulation. They are absurd in my opinion. The idea that Art is a special area of property that should be available to all was not expressed by Pappp. That idea at least here in the USA is expressed in liberal circles, but those same liberals here generally support positions similar to the offical position of the Art Institute of Chicago which I posted above, and which I assume is… Read more »
webber
Guest

Istvan,
Don’t accept any statement by Pappp. He is appearing here under various aliases pretending to be a variety of people (see Eva’s comments).
In his arguments here he has exhibited all the beliefs of a Marxist.

webber
Guest

P.S. Istvan – if you think about it a little, you will see the delicious irony of a Fidesznik posing as members of the public (under various names) being called a communist for the views he has chosen to espouse. If Pappp is not a communist, then he doesn’t actually believe what he has argued above.

pappp
Guest
This is crazy now. Like you Webber I’m not entirely comfortable using my own name here (though I know it’s not very difficult to identify me, still, I live in Hungary as a Hungarian). I confess (mea culpa) that I used other aliases sometimes to provoke responses, but I assure you – as I did already – that I’m not a Fidesznik, a communist, a government operative, am not crazy etc. I’m certainly not a Marxist. It’s totally ridiculous if you knew me. That said, I just can’t understand and you gave me no reason whatsoever either (other than just repeating “that’s the law and if someone thinks otherwise then he/she must be a communist”) why is it so fringe an idea to to think that rare cultural goods should be, as much as possible, kept in public ownership, so that access is assured, especially if they have been for ages? How long have you been living in Europe? ‘Cos this is not the libertarian US West, but Europe where Bernie Sanders would be a mainstream (not a fringe left) candidate. People in Europe are more community oriented (which has noting to do with purported “communism”) you know (there exist… Read more »
webber
Guest

“…in December 1998, … representatives of 44 nations and 13 non-governmental organizations came together at the State Department–sponsored Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets. After three days of meetings, the participants agreed to eleven non-binding principles, known as the Washington Principles. At the top of the list was this: “Art that had been confiscated by the Nazis and not subsequently restituted should be identified.”
Read up:
http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rt/hlcst/122038.htm

webber
Guest

Watch that video. You are in for a surprise. This Hungarian government has already returned certain artworks to aristocrats. If you really believe what you wrote above, you will be horrified.

pappp
Guest

I am indeed horrified. I remembered (and I so indicated in a comment above) that there was probably such a Fidesznik plan. It is yet another effort to loot – this time -existing museums. I’m no masochist though, I hear enough bad news anyway I’m not much inclined to deal with this any further. I note the above non-binding Principles, but I reserve the right to be critical. Just because a law or a document got the stamp of the State Department or the Hungarian government I may still call it unfair or unwarranted.

Guest

Vanquished and tamed! Not that you set out to do it, webber – but I admire you’re tenacity.

Our multi-named poster would have trouble fitting in with a democracy. For example, England.

But (s)he’s safe in Hungary. Let’s hope they stay put.

DóraF
Guest

Charlie, I think you misunderstood the exchange. Pappp did not concede and webber simply did not reply to any relevant arguments but only referred to a non-binding document as if it was self-explanatory. I think he, webber realized that he was unreasonable and let it go which is just as well. You should also understand, if it wasn’t clear, that continental Europe is more pro-public, anti-privatization – which does not mean communism (but rather the ‘social market economy’). At least this is my take.

webber
Guest

Dora, wrong take.
I just gave up trying to educate a troll who hides under different names.

There is no difference here between Europe and the US. Almost all European states are now returning art stolen by the Nazis – all EU states, in fact, with the exception of Hungary.

The idea that Europe and the US are somehow different in views of private/public property is laughable (witness the huge amount of land owned by the govt. in the US – far more than half of the surface of many Western states – an unimaginable amount,in Europe)

pappp
Guest
webber, it’s no use to argue with you because you never seem to address my points. I simply took a more anti-property rights position which was called communist. Then I replied that it’s not communism to be critical of private property and privatizations or argue for restriction on private property. I never denied that the stolen arts are usually returned, and the law probably prefers the heirs. But am I not allowed to call this in some instances, like this one, unjust? Just because there’s a certain practice and there are – debatable – laws someone can’t stand up and call this a bad law (without being a called a communist)? I understand well that all foreign living, or foreign citizen at this blog prefers the heirs and hate to hear contrary views, but is this reason not to be critical? One cannot be critical about rigid restitution laws? Do we have to adore the sanctity of property rights in every case? I don’t really understand why other commenters are so absolutist, but I guess it hast o do with conformism. Siding with “the Jews” on complex questions involving WWII and the communism is what is expected from an educated… Read more »
webber
Guest

Is your name Dora too????!

webber
Guest

Neat trick – bringing up “the Jews” and then saying that Jewishness is irrelevant to you.

You are certainly a liar.

And a communist.

pappp
Guest

Then I have to say you’re an idiot and also crazily paranoid. Chill out, dude. I used quotation marks exactly because wanted to express that I think in the mental process most commenters consider it relevant (which is why they cannot ever dare to be critical) even if they don’t admit it. It just feels for them and you too to be on the appropriate side. I understand.

I for one would not give back the artifacts to anybody after 70 years in state possession, so I totally don’t care about the Herzogs’ personal details.

But I was right, you have nothing to say about my arguments you just repeat your mantra and call others names. I just wanted to make sure that I get you and I was right, you don’t debate, you proclaim things and if you don’t like what others have to say you call them liars, communists and what have you. Pathetic.

Guest

Any discussion with the troll of many names is obviously useless:
Just let me repeat Eva’s sentence:
Hungary has the dubious distinction of being the only country besides Russia that refuses to relinquish art stolen from European Jews.

pappp
Guest

I see, so of I’m disagreeing with something on this blog then I’m trolling (for Fidesz, I suppose). You want to force me to accept something which I don’t like and have reasonable arguments against.

webber
Guest

If the name fits:
“Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players. The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group’s common interests and concerns…”
from J. S. Donath, “Identity and deception in the virtual community” (1999)

Concern trolls: “These Do-Nothings profess a commitment to social change for ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity, and then abstain from and discourage all effective action for change.”
Saul Alinsky, as cited by James Wolcott, in “Political Pieties from a Post-Natal Drip”

Guest

A bit OT.

Istvan, the story of Clive Bundy and his militia men in the Wildlife refugee in Oregon earlier this year comes to my mind – it was funny in a way to see how it fizzled out …

webber
Guest
Without going into great detail, Istvan, irritation in the West with the administration of federal lands by the BLM, the Forest Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs runs a little deeper, and is a little more complex than that. Federal lands take up more than half the territory of some Western states. I am sure you are well aware of the abuses of tribal people by the BIA over the past. The BLM and Forest Service sometimes act like governments unto themselves, with no accountability to local people, and indeed contempt of them. Overlogging, “controlled burns” which have gotten out of control and damaged private real estate, termination of traditional grazing contracts putting old ranching families out of business, then purchase of those families’s private lands, arrest of people on federal lands for crimes that are not a crime in the state in question (for example, marijuana laws in certain states now) – I could go on, but won’t. The Bundys were a bunch of outsiders pushing their agenda, unwanted, on local communities in E. Oregon – but irritation with Federal abuses in those communities is very real. So few voters live out there that Washington can just ignore them… Read more »
Properties
Guest

My family owned two large apartment buildings in Bp. One near the Csarnok the other one in Szervita Ter on Becsi utca and I have all the papers to prove it.
Can’t even imagine ever getting them back – people are living there, maybe they were sold as individual condos or maybe not. Someone has been paying taxes, upkeep etc. I have the papers because my parents were convinced that one day their great – great grandchildren would have these properties returned to them as long as the ownership can be proven. I keep the papers as “souvenirs” and because my parents asked me to.
I my wildest imagination there is no expectation on my part to have these properties returned to any one in my family or to the future descendants although one apartment in one of the buildings would be nice 🙂

Paintings? Take them off the wall and return them to the rightful owners.

Life can be simple 🙂

Guest

Webber
I fully agree with you. The paintings belong to the family. However there are people who say that they don’t belong to the family. If they are right who do the paintings belong to? The answer is not that they are unquestinably owned by whoever has them in posession, in casu Hungary. The principle of cultural heritage has gained recognition and it must be taken into consideration. It seems to me that if paintings of Spanish masters such as Zurbaran and el Greco are ownerless they should be sent to Spain. Of course I know that the British will return the Elgin marbles to Greece long time before the Hungarians will let go these ill gained paintings.

Guest

The Elgin marbles are not ownerless. They were purchased legitimately by Lord Elgin from the government – rescued from a disintegrating Parthenon. The British Museum can prove ownership.

If the marbles had stayed they would not be in the condition they are in now through erosion.

They may have been ‘over restored’ but they have been saved. They are an artefact if antiquity, many examples of which lay in Hungarian museums.

They are open to public viewing for any visitors to come and see – just as those in Hungarian museums are.

Many Jewish works of art have been repatriated by Britain to their original owners – just like in the ‘Chicago Charter’ Istvan posted.

Guest

Re: Jean’s comment that Britain will return the Elgin Marbles to Greece…

Not if ever Mr. Michaloliakos is on the Greek representative committee for return. We get an idea who he intellectually pals around with around :43 in….yikes…

https://youtu.be/NFEeS2OXpoI

Guest

Did the last articles by Prof Balogh hit a nerve somewhere in Hungarian government circles?

Or what is the reason that some troll(s – I’m not sure yet …) did feel it necessary to invest so much energy in silly or even nonsensical comments?

It’s funny in a way …

Wulai
Guest

It’s like with the net tax. A lot of corruption and nothing, 500 forint internet tax and people are on the streets. The usual daily corruption and nothing then there is a news that some people wanna hit the jackpot based on some selfish arguments then it probably just feels unjust (the laws notwithstanding). Most Hungarian people just hated the “selling out” of state-owned companies to foreign investors. Why? Just because they didn’t like the Hungarian companies (even failing ones) in foreign hands. It’s not logical but people just didn’t like privatizations. Don’t always look for logic, instead try to see that people have feelings which sometimes they feel strongly.

Guest

So what about Rolls Royce – the archetypal British company quality renowned – ending up in German hands? (BMW)

Grow up, Hungary

Grow up.

Guest

And Bentley since 1998 belongs to Volkswagen even – what kind of craziness is that?

PS and not too much OT:
Many German companies with established brands have been sold to the Americans, to the French and now even to Turkish and of course Chines owners.
And I’m sure some German housewives still believe that their WMF cutlery is made by Schwab people somewhere near the Black Forest …

Istvan
Guest

Yes like the IKEA stores in Budapest that have Scandnaivian house wear made in Asia. By the way when I visited one of them two years ago I found their product line near identical to the stores in the Midwest USA.

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