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Berlin museum seeks return of ancient gold tablet
AP ^ | 16 Oct 2013 | Michael Virtanen

Posted on 10/16/2013 7:27:03 AM PDT by Theoria

Berlin antiquities museum wants Holocaust survivor's family to return ancient gold tablet

A Holocaust survivor's family urged New York's highest court Tuesday to let them keep an ancient gold tablet that their late father somehow obtained in Germany after World War II.

Attorney Steven Schlesinger argued that the estate of Riven Flamenbaum has a legal claim, whether the native of Poland bought the relic from a Russian soldier or simply took it to compensate for losing his family at Auschwitz, the concentration camp where he spent several years.

"Under the Soviet rules at the time, there was permission to pillage and plunder," Schlesinger said. "My client could have taken it in retribution."

The tablet was in the collection of the Vorderasiatisches Museum, a branch of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, before the war. The family argued that the museum's failure to reclaim the tablet for 60 years was an unreasonable delay, undercutting its claim. Schlesinger said Flamenbaum had been told by Christie's in 1954 that the small tablet was a fake and kept it at home. It's now in a safety deposit box on Long Island.

Museum attorney Raymond Dowd said the absence of the 3,200-year-old relic was quickly noted by the museum, later reported by scholars and widely known.

"There's no such thing as a right of pillage," Dowd said. "Reparation has nothing to do with this case."

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: History; Society
KEYWORDS: berlin; germany; godsgravesglyphs; gold; holocaust; iraq; ishtar; tablet
'The 9.5-gram tablet was excavated a century ago by German archaeologists from the Ishtar Temple in what is now northern Iraq.'
1 posted on 10/16/2013 7:27:03 AM PDT by Theoria
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To: Theoria
'The 9.5-gram tablet was excavated a century ago by German archaeologists from the Ishtar Temple in what is now northern Iraq.'

So the Germans want it back because they nabbed it fair and square.

2 posted on 10/16/2013 7:28:42 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Everyone get online for Obamacare on 10/1. Overload the system and crash it hard!)
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To: KarlInOhio
After looking at the article they claim that they took half of the haul and gave half to the Ottoman Empire who ruled that territory at the time as agreed to by the Ottomans, so Germany might have a fair title to it, rather than the typical archaeological title procedure of "finders keepers, losers weepers".
3 posted on 10/16/2013 7:32:09 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Everyone get online for Obamacare on 10/1. Overload the system and crash it hard!)
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To: KarlInOhio
Yep. And the Flamenbaum heirs want to keep it because their patriarch either bought it from a Russian soldier who looted it or looted it himself to compensate for a tragedy the Germans imposed on their family.

It is sort of ironic. Like the descendants of slaves voting for a descendant of a family who made their fortune selling them into slavery.

4 posted on 10/16/2013 7:32:17 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Theoria
this one?


5 posted on 10/16/2013 7:36:59 AM PDT by bigbob
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To: Theoria
The government of Israel already negotiated reparations on behalf of the survivors.

If he truly considered it reparations (but obviously he did not) then his heirs would be asking for the tablet to be given to Yad Vashem or another worthy charity.

6 posted on 10/16/2013 7:41:19 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: Theoria
The author lost me with "safety" deposit box.

Quietly humming...Where have all the editors gone...?

7 posted on 10/16/2013 7:41:44 AM PDT by NautiNurse (Obama sends U.S. Marines to pick up his dog & basketballs. Benghazi? Nope.)
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To: KarlInOhio
Yep. Of course much the same can be said of most Ancient Near East exhibit items in just about every European museum of art (and more than a few public squares in their capitals). The French, the British, and the Germans were particularly avid "collectors". Below is the Luxor, Egypt obelisk that the Khedive gave to France in the early 1800's and that now stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

If everything that has been looted, bought, or otherwise obtained by museums over the years was returned to the original settings there would be practically nothing to exhibit. And in the case of items from the Middle East the chances of the items being destroyed by Islamic fanatics argue against their return. In this case, considering the mass looting of art treasures done by the Nazis during the war, the Germans ought to be a embarrassed to ask.


8 posted on 10/16/2013 7:59:42 AM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: Theoria

The Germans pulled it out of the ground with the permission of the Ottoman government in charge at the time. Whoever took it from a German museum did so with the permission of the Russian government who was in charge at the time. If the Germans have a beef they should take it up with the ruskies but I guess it is just easier to get the shyster lawyers in the US to try and steal it back.


9 posted on 10/16/2013 8:00:32 AM PDT by RightOnTheBorder
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To: Theoria
"It's now in a safety deposit box on Long Island."

Best go get it, that's no place to keep something valuable.

10 posted on 10/16/2013 8:03:43 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Don't fire until you see the blue of their helmets)
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To: bigbob


I've seen this movie before.
11 posted on 10/16/2013 8:16:44 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: wideawake

I believe that was for forced labor and stolen property of persons that became Israelis.

Non-Israeli Jewish victims of the Nazis were not part of the settlement.

One of my grandparents had a lovely house in France stolen by the French -— the Nazis gave it to a collaborator; he attempted to return in 1947 and was run out of town by policemen he knew by name and had gone to school with. Lawsuit went nowhere -— the Nazi transfer for no money was “legal at the time.”


12 posted on 10/16/2013 8:23:22 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: Theoria

The article contains one of my pet peeves, an error you see everywhere: It is “SAFE DEPOSIT” box, not “SAFETY DEPOSIT” box. Thanks. I feel better.


13 posted on 10/16/2013 8:23:31 AM PDT by j.havenfarm (Placer County: CA's Republican Citadel - 48.39% registration, highest in the state,)
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To: wideawake

Nazis locked him in a camp and murdered his family, so he keeps some of their stuff. Totally fair. If they don’t like it in Berlin, then they can call it a lesson learned.
And it makes no difference what Israel did or didn’t negotiate. Israeli negotiations commenced and proceeded without this man’s consent or assent.

And that’s some pretty neat legalistic BS. A Polish mans justice, negotiated away by a settlement between Germany and a nation that didn’t exist as a nation state when the tort occurred. The Nazis always a legalistic bunch.


14 posted on 10/16/2013 8:37:12 AM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: Theoria
Under the Soviet rules at the time, there was permission to pillage and plunder,

I believe emperor Hussein I is about to issue an Executive Order giving HIM first claim, should he chose.


15 posted on 10/16/2013 8:40:25 AM PDT by The Sons of Liberty (Who but a TYRANT shoves down another man's throat what he has exempted himself from?)
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To: wideawake

Break into my house, murder my loved ones, attack me. When you are driven out by greater force, I get to keep your rolex you dropped on the floor.

The world is rough, leave people alone. That’s way you get keep your own stuff. That or be badass enough to keep anyone from taking it. It’s a rough lesson, thought they understood it.


16 posted on 10/16/2013 8:41:16 AM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: DesertRhino

Are you really calling me a Nazi?


17 posted on 10/16/2013 8:42:14 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: wideawake

Lol, no, don’t know how you got that from what I said. It’s two separate observations.

1) I’m just saying that settlement couldn’t possibly settle a Polish man’s claim that occurred at least 3 years before Israel was even a nation.
And

2) I’m simply noting the historical fact that’s Nazis were HIGHLY legalistic. Roland Freisler would have approved of such a settlement. Everything Hitler did was 100% legal under Nazi law. So it’s high comedy, or at least irony, that legal sophistry would be used to support a Berlinese claim to the tablet.

I say this nice man gets to keep the tablets.


18 posted on 10/16/2013 8:55:57 AM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: DesertRhino
Lol, no, don’t know how you got that from what I said.

Here's how I got it:

You said:

that’s some pretty neat legalistic BS

in reference to my post.

Then you said:

The Nazis always a legalistic bunch.

As to your other points:

(1) The Israeli reparations agreement concerns only claims that existed prior to Israel's existence, by definition. If Israel's reparations claims are legitimate - and they are - clearly the date of its sovereign existence is immaterial to those claims.

(2) The Nazis were not "legalistic" - they routinely broke laws, violated treaties, etc. The central tenet of their political ideology was the Fuehrerprinzip - whatever the leader wanted at the moment was law.

This was essential to their purpose: to always keep the population guessing as to what the police or the government would decide to do today. The Nazis were arbitrary and did not follow laws and their arbitrariness kept the population in perpetual fear and dread of what the authorities might capriciously choose to do tomorrow.

Freisler was actually a perfect example of this: he made the law up as he went along, improvising from the bench so he could punish people he thought needed punishing. He was famous for just inventing new crimes on the spot to justify his sentences.

(3) The nice man is dead. His son wants to return the tablet and his daughter wants to keep the tablet.

19 posted on 10/16/2013 9:20:52 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: wideawake

Two separate concepts guy.

1) Your post was legalistic and basically merely finding that the man had no right to that Nazi property he possessed.

2) And Nazis were indeed quite steeped in passing laws and creating legal frameworks to justify their acts as “legal”. Soviets were just as bad.

That doesn’t make you a Nazi. Nazis also likes BMWs, of which I have had one. I am also not a Nazi.

And no matter what settlement Germany reached with Israel, it cannot legally discharge some Polish mans claims. DId Israel take out a class action lawsuit notice in the Krakow times? Did Israel negotiate a treaty with the Russians or Poles, whereby they were the sole representatives of all Nazi Polish death camp claims? Did the Israelis ever distribute anything of value to this Polish man?

No law recognizes the “Israel settles everything” concept, unless we are all world citizens with no individual and personal rights. When did Poland allow all claims against its citizens to be settled by a 3rd party nation state?

It’s a legal fiction to claim the Israeli settlement settled HIS score. And you are quite wrong, the Nazis had a law for nearly everything, They have only been exceeded by the USA in the modern era.

As to his son and daughter, American probate law decides who gets it. And whoever wins THAT case can do with it as the please. His son can stab the family in the back and gift it to his dads tormenters, or his daughter can sell it and be wealthy. But that’s their personal business, under US law.


20 posted on 10/16/2013 9:56:53 AM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: Theoria; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

Thanks Theoria.
"Under the Soviet rules at the time, there was permission to pillage and plunder," Schlesinger said. "My client could have taken it in retribution." The tablet was in the collection of the Vorderasiatisches Museum, a branch of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, before the war. The family argued that the museum's failure to reclaim the tablet for 60 years was an unreasonable delay, undercutting its claim. Schlesinger said Flamenbaum had been told by Christie's in 1954 that the small tablet was a fake and kept it at home. It's now in a safety deposit box on Long Island. Museum attorney Raymond Dowd said the absence of the 3,200-year-old relic was quickly noted by the museum, later reported by scholars and widely known. "There's no such thing as a right of pillage," Dowd said. "Reparation has nothing to do with this case."
Pretty sure there's no rules of pillage, either.

21 posted on 10/16/2013 5:33:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's no coincidence that some "conservatives" echo the hard left.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Well, at least not in recent times. :-))

22 posted on 10/16/2013 5:37:52 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: Theoria

GET RID OF MUSEUMS. The zoos of the elites.


23 posted on 10/16/2013 5:57:54 PM PDT by eleni121 ("All Along the Watchtower" Book of Isaiah, Chapter 21, verses 5-9)
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To: DesertRhino

Excellent! Germans are definitely a “legalistic bunch” ...how dare they ask for anything back??!!! Some chutzpah...and they invented the even more horrible modern state bureaucracy that has probably killed more human beings than any army ever did...


24 posted on 10/16/2013 6:01:16 PM PDT by eleni121 ("All Along the Watchtower" Book of Isaiah, Chapter 21, verses 5-9)
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To: SunkenCiv

“Pretty sure there’s no rules of pillage, either.”

Funny. Funnier on second consideration.


25 posted on 10/17/2013 10:23:36 AM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: SunkenCiv

“Pretty sure there’s no rules of pillage, either.”

What about “Rape, Pillage, Loot, and THEN burn!”

AFAIK, that is the ONLY rule for pillage.

Been a while since taking booty was allowed to US servicemen. In any sense of the word “booty.”

OK, yes, my sick sense of humor may have no place in this thread. Let the moderator decide.


26 posted on 10/18/2013 3:32:47 PM PDT by Old Student (Do NOT make me get out the torches and pitchforks...)
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