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Heirs Outraged as Dutch Panel Rejects Nazi-Era Art Claim

The heirs of Richard Semmel, a Jewish industrialist persecuted by the Nazis, said they’re “outraged” by a Dutch government panel’s decision to reject their claim for two Old Masters on the grounds that the works are more important to the museums which house them now than they are to the heirs.

The Dutch Restitutions Committee dismissed claims by Semmel’s heirs for three of four paintings they say he sold at auction in 1933 after fleeing Nazi Germany. Though the committee found that Semmel sold three works under duress as a result of persecution, it said in an e-mailed statement that the heirs’ interest in two “carries less weight” than the museums’.