Lawyer who Helped Return Nazi-Looted Heirlooms to Jewish Family to Speak Locally

E. Randol Schoenberg took his case against Austria all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won.

E. Randol Schoenberg. Photo courtesy of the city of Malibu.
E. Randol Schoenberg. Photo courtesy of the city of Malibu.

Originally posted at 1:29 p.m. April 15, 2014. Edited with new details.

An attorney who took on the Austrian government to retrieve a Jewish family's Nazi-stolen heirlooms – and won – will be speaking this month in Malibu.

E. Randol Schoenberg represented Maria Altmann, who in her 80s, decided to fight to retrieve paintings by Gustav Klimt seized from by the Nazis, according to the New York Times.

She hired Schoenberg, a friend and grandson of two Viennese composers, to represent her. They were successful in retrieving many family heirlooms, but not the Klimt paintings.

Not able to afford the legal filing fee in Austria, Altmann ended up suing in the United States, and taking the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which gave her the green light to pursue her claim. Ultimately, an arbitration panel in Austria heard the case.

“In January 2006, that panel agreed that the paintings, valued at over $325 million, should be returned to the family,” says a bulletin from the city of Malibu, advertising the event.

Schoenberg will speak from 7-9 p.m. April 29 at the Malibu City Hall Council Chambers/ Malibu Civic Theater, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road. The event, a program of the Cultural Arts Commission, is free but reservations – made at  www.malibucity.org/klimt or by calling 310-456-2489 ext. 239.—are needed.


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