The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office issued warrants last week to seize three pieces of artwork believed to be stolen during the Holocaust, including a painting at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Ohio, the Associated Press reported.
The stolen artworks are also at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. They previously belonged to Fritz Grünbaum, who died at the Dachau concentration camp in 1941. Grünbaum’s heirs filed civil claims against the museums and other defendants before the warrants were issued, arguing their ancestor was forced to give up his art collection.
New York law enforcement officials believe the issue is in their jurisdiction because the artwork was handled by Manhattan art dealers, according to the AP.
Oberlin officials said in a statement that they were “confident” the college “legally acquired” the painting and “lawfully possess[es] it.”
“We believe that Oberlin is not the target of the Manhattan DA’s criminal investigation into this matter,” the statement noted.
The museums will be allowed to keep the art until it can be transported to New York.