Friday, November 28, 2008


Yesterday I talked with a friend of mine who used to be a lawyer. We discussed the case of Ms. Dina Babbitt and her watercolors.

Her opinion was that Dina had received compensation for her work so it did not legally belong to her. The compensation she received was that Joseph Mengele spared the life of Ms. Babbitt and her mother in return for the watercolors of Rroma inmates of Auschwitz.

At first this argument floored me and I was speechless. Later I realized that to say Ms. Babbitt received compensation for her work in these circumstances is the same as saying that the victim of armed robbery who was not killed received compensation for their belongings. In the light of day, this argument seems ludicrous.

In today's Seattle Times, I read an article about France turning over a Matisse painting which had been looted by Nazis from a Jewish family in WWII. It was returned to the rightful owner, who had willed it be left to an Israeli charity organization. This seems relevant eh?

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