Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Will This Never End?

Everyone's favorite shakedown artist is at it again; surely there ought to be a statute of limitations at work here or something?

An $18bn (£10bn) lawsuit has been filed against Germany, accusing the country of making money by keeping artworks stolen from Holocaust victims.
The legal action, by the Association of Holocaust Victims for Restitution of Artworks and Masterpieces (AHVRAM), is a first step against several countries.
Speaking outside the German finance ministry, lawyer Ed Fagan accused the government of retaining 2,000 artworks.
He said: "We are here because the thefts started here."
The civil action alleges that consecutive German governments from World War II to the present day have profited from artworks taken from Holocaust victims.
It names current finance minister Hans Eichel as a defendant.
The AHVRAM claims governments in Berlin benefited from trafficking in the stolen art, failed to take reasonable steps to find the true owners and did not give artworks back to Holocaust survivors' groups.
"It is not the business of government to steal or retain wrongly expropriated property," said Mr Fagan, a prominent US lawyer.
Austria, France and the US are also to be targeted by legal action on similar grounds, AHVRAM said.
Frankly, my patience is exhausted by these sorts of antics, and that despite my deep loathing of Nazi misdeeds. It's simply too irritating to see one more complaint buried with a payoff only for yet another to emerge from out of nowhere soon afterwards. How many angles can one hit the German government from in search of yet more money?

It takes a heck of a lot of provocation to make me sympathize with the German government against those protesting the crimes of the Nazi era, but Fagan has just about managed the impossible: what he's doing here is working a protection racket, not seeking "justice" for victims of Nazi thuggery. For the cause of justice to truly be served, all of Fagan's outstanding lawsuits would be summarily thrown out of court, and the man himself permanently disbarred.