Czech Parliament
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The Czech government has facilitated the restitution of 14 works of art looted by the Nazi to the heirs of a Czech Jewish industrialist.

Representatives of the heirs of Johann Bloch living in the United States had contacted Czech restitution agencies in 2020 asking about the art.

In total, four 18th and early 19th century paintings were returned to the family by the National Gallery of Prague, and 10 liturgical vestments were returned by Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts (UPM).

The return of the collection was overseen by the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS).

"Today’s restitution is an important achievement in our mission to provide justice for Holocaust victims, survivors, and their heirs," said DFS Superintendent Adrienne Harris. "As we continue to make every effort to seek justice for those who were victimized due to Nazi persecution, New York State will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to help Holocaust survivors and their heirs recover what is rightfully theirs."

In a statement, the heirs of Johann Bloch said they were “deeply grateful” to the museums for returning the art, and to the Documentation Centre and the Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HCPO) for “working together to facilitate the return of the family’s lost cultural objects.”

The HCPO was created in 1997 to “help Holocaust victims and their heirs recover: assets deposited in banks; unpaid proceeds of insurance policies issued by European insurers; and artworks that were lost, looted or sold under duress.“

“Not only has this cooperation resulted in the restitution of pieces from our family’s stolen art collection, but it has brought members of the Bloch family together while bringing our shared history into focus,” the family said.

Johann Bloch (1869 – 1940) was co-owner of his family’s Brno leather factory and a shareholder in a rubber goods company. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the family factory was confiscated and his request to be granted the right to move his art collection to a England was approved by the ruling regime on condition he donate the four paintings to the National Gallery.

“With the invaluable assistance of the Documentation Centre for Property Transfers of the Cultural Assets of WWII Victims in Prague, Czech Republic, the HCPO was able to confirm that the Bloch paintings were part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery Prague and that the 10 chasubles were still in the collection of the Museum for Decorative Arts,” DFS said. “Negotiations with these institutions for the restitution of these cultural objects swiftly ensued resulting in today’s return.“