BERLIN – Germany’s top federal appeals court ruled Friday that a Berlin museum must return to a Jewish man from the U.S. thousands of rare posters that were seized from his father by the Gestapo, saying that for the institution to keep them would be perpetuating the crimes of the Nazis.
The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe said Peter Sachs, 74, was the rightful owner of the posters collected by his father Hans Sachs, now believed to be worth between $6 million and $21 million, and can demand their return from the German Historical Museum.
The ruling brings to an end some seven years of legal battles to have the vast collection of posters that date back to the late 19th century returned.
“I can’t describe what this means to me on a personal level,” Peter Sachs, who recently moved to Nevada from Sarasota, Fla., told the Associated Press in an email after the ruling. “It feels like vindication for my father, a final recognition of the life he lost and never got back.”
A total of 4,259 posters so far have been identified as having belonged to Sachs’ father, who survived being thrown in a concentration camp north of Berlin. They include advertisements for exhibitions, cabarets, movies and consumer products, as well as political propaganda – all rare, with only small original print runs.