US judge rules against family over Nazi-seized masterpiece

    A federal judge in California has ruled against a Jewish family that’s trying to regain ownership of a painting that was seized from a woman fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 and is now at a museum in Spain.

    U.S. District Judge John Walter found that under Spanish law, the museum rightfully owns the 1897 Pissarro masterpiece.

    In last week’s ruling, Walter dismissed a lawsuit the woman’s heirs filed against the museum, but he urged the institution to think about what would be fair to victims of Nazi persecution.

    On Thursday, the family’s attorney promised to appeal Walter’s ruling, saying the museum’s position is “morally and legally wrong.”

    An attorney for the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid says it acquired the painting in good faith and has owned it for more than 20 years.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Help us get to 100% of our membership goal to support the reporters covering our region, the producers bringing you great local programs and the educators who teach all our children.