July 10, 2019

Statement by DFS Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell Regarding New York Appeals Court Upholding the Return of Art Stolen During the Holocaust to Rightful Owners

DFS applauds the court’s recognition of New York’s strong public policy in protecting the rights of owners of lost or stolen cultural property.  As the court correctly stated, New York will not be a haven for such illegal trafficking. DFS’s Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HCPO), the only government entity in the world that provides such comprehensive services free of charge or commission, works diligently to help Holocaust victims and their heirs recover lost assets, such as dormant bank accounts, unpaid proceeds of insurance policies and artworks stolen or sold under duress. Since its inception, HCPO has responded to more than 13,000 inquiries resulting in nearly 10,000 claims from over 5,900 individuals from 46 US states, the District of Columbia and 39 countries. To date, the combined total of offers extended to HCPO claimants for bank accounts, insurance policies, and other asset losses amounts to over $178 million and has assisted in securing the return of over 150 works of art. DFS looks forward to continuing its work through HCPO, helping the rightful owners of all lost and stolen property taken during the Holocaust recover their assets.