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Press Release
Painting Lost Due to Nazi Persecution Restored to Rightful Heir

February 4, 2010

New York N.Y.: The New York State Banking Department’s Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HCPO) has assisted in the return of another artwork to the heir of its original owner, Ignatz Pick. The painting, lost as a result of Nazi persecution, is being returned to the claimant by the Upper Austrian Provincial Museum.

The HCPO, which in 2009 returned seven works of art to their rightful owners, is returning the artwork to Monique Goss, the sole surviving heir and granddaughter of Pick. He was an avid art collector as well as a successful antiquarian and gallery owner in Vienna, Austria before World War II. After the Anschluss, Pick’s antique business was Aryanized and control over his personal art collection was turned over to a Nazi-approved administrator. The administrator sold art from the collection to raise funds necessary to pay the punitive taxes imposed by the Nazi regime as well as to pay the immigration taxes for Pick’s wife and daughters who had fled to New York. Pick, unable to join his family in the United States, died alone on Feb. 23, 1941 in Vienna. 

The artwork, a painting by Johann Baptist Reiter called “Portrait of a Lady,” is an oil canvas depicting a half-length portrait of a lady in a black dress with a deep neckline. The lady is wearing a coral necklace and coral earrings and has a flower in her hair. 

"Through their tireless efforts, our Holocaust Claims team has helped thousands of Holocaust victims and their heirs to find some measure of closure by rightfully restoring their property,” said Richard H. Neiman, Superintendent of Banks for New York State. “As the only office of their kind in the United States, it is their unique skills and understanding of these issues that has allowed this success today.”

In 2009, the HCPO helped to restore more than $16 million in bank, insurance and other asset claims, bringing the total of offers extended to HCPO claimants to more than $153 million.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to continue to assist Holocaust survivors and their families amicably resolve their claims this year as we have in the past,” said Anna Rubin, director of the HCPO. 

The HCPO’s 2009 annual report is available on the Banking Department Web site at http://www.dfs.ny.gov/reportpub/hcporeport09.pdf.

Individual claims are assigned to members of the HCPO’s staff who work with claimants to collect the most detailed and accurate information possible. Using a combination of investigative skills, research expertise and their command of foreign languages, staff members corroborate information provided claimants with research in archives, libraries and other resources. This documentation that the HCPO secures on behalf of its claimants has proven instrumental in substantiating their claims.

In total, the HCPO has successfully closed the cases of 1,725 individuals. Since its creation in 1997 through December 2009, the HCPO has responded to more than 13,000 inquiries and received claims from 4,809 individuals from 45 states, the District of Columbia and 38 countries.

The New York State Banking Department is the regulator for all state-chartered banking institutions, virtually all of the United States offices of international banking institutions, all of the State’s mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, check cashers, money transmitters and budget planners. The aggregate assets of the depository institutions supervised by the Banking Department are more than $2.4 trillion.

In addition to regulating banking institutions, the Banking Department is active in informing and educating all New Yorkers on banking matters. To contact the Banking Department, please call 1-877-BANK-NYS or visit our Web site at www.dfs.ny.gov.

 

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