Orkin et al v. Elizabeth Taylor

    TORONTO, Aug. 24 /CNW/ - Our lawsuit Orkin et al v. Elizabeth Taylor,
which concerns ownership of a van Gogh painting currently in the possession of
Elizabeth Taylor, has just been filed with the US Supreme Court.
    The evidence that our great-grandmother Margarethe Mauthner lost the
painting in Berlin due to Nazi coercion is strong and presumptively correct.
Mauthner's ownership in Berlin in 1937 or later is confirmed by the leading
catalogues raisonnees on van Gogh from 1939 and 1970.
    US laws from 1947 onwards deem that property losses by Jews in Nazi-era
Germany were as a result of Nazi confiscation, and mandate restitution
notwithstanding subsequent purchases, whether good faith or not.
    It has been reported, incorrectly, that "In May, the 9th Circuit Court of
Appeals ... rejected the Orkins' claim, finding that Taylor had acquired the
work in good faith years after (Margarethe) Mauthner willingly agreed to its
sale" ("Canadians won't give up Taylor's van Gogh painting", Globe and Mail,
August 21, 2007).
    There has been no such judicial finding, either on Taylor's good faith or
on the circumstances under which the van Gogh changed hands. (The lower courts
declined to hear our case on narrow statutes of limitation grounds.)
    We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider that when Taylor and her
art dealer father bought the painting in 1963, they disregarded strong
evidence that Mauthner lost the painting in Berlin in the late 1930's due to
Nazi coercion.
    We are also asking the Court to rule on the divergent approaches of
various US Circuit courts to adjudicating such claims, so that Holocaust
victims and their heirs might at last have their day in court, no matter where
they happen to live or wherever their property may be found.

For further information:

For further information: Andrew Orkin, mobile (905) 537-2553

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