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Fascism, Globalization and Money Laundering: Review of the Bush Family Tree

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COMMENT: In the wake of the Jim DiEugenio interviews, we found ourselves absorbed by a couple of the many, many consummately important items presented by the author in his masterwork. In FTR #’s 1058, 1059 and 1060–a series composed largely of review, we are fleshing out the concept of the Christian West, World War II-era geopolitical construct that was supposedly hypothetical. In fact, we have come to believe that it was, in fact realized. As expressed in AFA #37: ” . . . . When it became clear that the armies of the Third Reich were going to be defeated, it opened secret negotiations with representatives from the Western Allies. Representatives on both sides belonged to the transatlantic financial and industrial fraternity that had actively supported fascism. The thrust of these negotiations was the establishment of The Christian West. Viewed by the Nazis as a vehicle for surviving military defeat, ‘The Christian West’ involved a Hitler-less Reich joining with the U.S., Britain, France and other European nations in a transatlantic, pan-European anti-Soviet alliance. In fact, The Christian West became a reality only after the cessation of hostilities. The de-Nazification of Germany was aborted. Although a few of the more obvious and obnoxious elements of Nazism were removed, Nazis were returned to power at virtually every level and in almost every capacity in the Federal Republic of Germany. . . .”

Central to understanding the concept of the actual realization of the essence of the Christian West–the merging of the U.S. with Nazi Germany in an anti-Soviet alliance–is the understanding of what globalization really is and how it precipitated fascism and the Second World War. ” . . . . Some of the books presented here illustrate the extent to which fascism (Nazism in particular) was an outgrowth of globalization and the construction of international monopolies (cartels). Key to understanding this phenomenon is analysis of the Webb-Pomerene act, legislated near the end of the First World War. A loophole in the Anti-trust legislation of 1914, it effectively legalized the formation of cartels—international monopolies—for firms that were barred from domestic monopolistic practices. Decrying what they viewed as excessive and restrictive ‘regulation’ here in the United States, U.S.-based transnational corporations invested their profits from the industrial boom of the 1920’s abroad, primarily in Japan and Germany. This process might well be viewed as the real beginning of what is now known as ‘globalization.’ . . . . It was this capital that drove the engines of conquest that subdued both Europe and Asia during the conflict. . . .”

 Also central to an understanding of the realization of the Christian West–the consummate realization of both globalization and fascism/Nazism–is analysis of the machinations of the Bush family. The heroic Justice Department investigator (later author) John Loftus delineated the Bush family’s role in the laundering of Nazi funds between the Thyssen Bank in Berlin, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, N.V. and the Union Bank in the U.S.

The networking of the Bush family with the Thyssens, the Schroeders and the Rockefellers, in turn, is inextricably linked with the coalescence and operation of the remarkable and deadly Bormann flight capital network, highlighed in FTR #305, among other programs.

The following article, the main focal point of FTR #370, this article warrants more intense scrutiny, both because of the increase in the dynamics of both globalization and concentration of wealth since 2002 and in the context of the Christian West and the links of Clay Shaw to the forces discussed here.

Key elements of discussion and analysis include:

  1. The corporate masking effected by the Thyssens and their American associates, George Herbert Walker, Prescott Bush, Averill Harriman and Allen Dulles. ” . . . . Thyssen did not need any foreign bank accounts because his family secretly owned an entire chain of banks. He did not have to transfer his Nazi assets at the end of World War II, all he had to do was transfer the ownership documents – stocks, bonds, deeds and trusts–from his bank in Berlin through his bank in Holland to his American friends in New York City: Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker. Thyssen’s partners in crime were the father and father-in-law of a future President of the United States. The allied investigators underestimated Thyssen’s reach, his connections, his motives, and his means. The web of financial entities Thyssen helped create in the 1920’s remained a mystery for the rest of the twentieth century, an almost perfectly hidden underground sewer pipeline for moving dirty money, money that bankrolled the post-war fortunes not only of the Thyssen industrial empire…but the Bush family as well. . . .”
  2. The role in this corporate shell game of Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, who married into the Hungarian nobility and whose daughter Francesca married Karl von Hapsburg. ” . . . . Fritz Thyssen joined the Nazis in 1923; his younger brother married into Hungarian nobility and changed his name to Baron [Heinrich] Thyssen-Bornemisza. The Baron later claimed Hungarian as well as Dutch citizenship. In public, he pretended to detest his Nazi brother, but in private they met at secret board meetings in Germany to coordinate their operations. If one brother were threatened with loss of property, he would transfer his holdings to the other. To aid his sons in their shell game, August Thyssen had established three different banks during the 1920’s — The August Thyssen Bank in Berlin, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam, and the Union Banking Corporation in New York City. To protect their corporate holdings, all the brothers had to do was move the corporate paperwork from one bank to the other. This they did with some regularity. When Fritz Thyssen ‘sold’ the Holland-American Trading Company for a tax loss, the Union Banking Corporation in New York bought the stock. Similarly, the Bush family invested the disguised Nazi profits in American steel and manufacturing corporations that became part of the secret Thyssen empire. . . .”
  3. The dual role of Allen Dulles as corporate lawyer and collaborator with the Thyssens, Bushes, Shroeders et al and his work as the head of the Bern (Switzerland) OSS office. ” . . . . If the investigators realized that the US intelligence chief in postwar Germany, Allen Dulles, was also the Rotterdam bank’s lawyer, they might have asked some very interesting questions. They did not know that Thyssen was Dulles’ client as well. Nor did they ever realize that it was Allen Dulles’s other client, Baron Kurt Von Schroeder who was the Nazi trustee for the Thyssen companies which now claimed to be owned by the Dutch. The Rotterdam Bank was at the heart of Dulles’ cloaking scheme, and he guarded its secrets jealously. . . . As soon as Berlin fell to the allies, it was time to ship the documents back to Rotterdam so that the ‘neutral’ bank could claim ownership under the friendly supervision of Allen Dulles, who, as the OSS intelligence chief in 1945 Berlin, was well placed to handle any troublesome investigations. . . .”
  4. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands–SS officer, I.G. Farben spy and nominal head of the Dutch “resistance” supervised a mission to retrieve potentially incriminating documents from the August Thyssen Bank in Berlin: ” . . . . Prince Bernhard commanded a unit of Dutch intelligence, which dug up the incriminating corporate papers in 1945 and brought them back to the “neutral” bank in Rotterdam. The pretext was that the Nazis had stolen the crown jewels of his wife, Princess Juliana, and the Russians gave the Dutch permission to dig up the vault and retrieve them. Operation Juliana was a Dutch fraud on the Allies who searched high and low for the missing pieces of the Thyssen fortune. . . .”
  5. Both the head of the Rotterdam Bank, who discovered the true Nazi ownership of his institution traveled to New York to protest to Prescott Bush. He was found dead of a “heart attack.” ” . . . . In 1945, the former Dutch manager of the Rotterdam bank resumed control only to discover that he was sitting on a huge pile of hidden Nazi assets. In 1947, the manager threatened to inform Dutch authorities, and was immediately fired by the Thyssens. The somewhat naive bank manager then fled to New York City where he intended to talk to Union Bank director Prescott Bush. As Gowen’s Dutch source recalled, the manager intended ‘to reveal [to Prescott Bush] the truth about Baron Heinrich and the Rotterdam Bank, [in order that] some or all of the Thyssen interests in the Thyssen Group might be seized and confiscated as German enemy property.’ The manager’s body was found in New York two weeks later. . . .”
  6. A similar fate befell Eddie Roever, a Dutch reporter who attempted to interview Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza in 1996. ” . . . . Similarly, in 1996 a Dutch journalist Eddy Roever went to London to interview the Baron, who was neighbors with Margaret Thatcher. Roever’s body was discovered two days later. Perhaps, Gowen remarked dryly, it was only a coincidence that both healthy men had died of heart attacks immediately after trying to uncover the truth about the Thyssens. . . .”
  7. Of paramount importance is the role of the two institutions in which Prescott Bush served–Brown Brothers Harriman and the Union Bank–as a fundamental vehicle for laundering money from the consummately powerful Rockefeller family and related interests in Nazi Germany. ” . . . . But what did the Bush family know about their Nazi connection and when did they know it? As senior managers of Brown Brothers Harriman, they had to have known that their American clients, such as the Rockefellers, were investing heavily in German corporations, including Thyssen’s giant Vereinigte Stahlwerke. As noted historian Christopher Simpson repeatedly documents, it is a matter of public record that Brown Brother’s investments in Nazi Germany took place under the Bush family stewardship. . . . It should be recalled that in January 1937, he hired Allen Dulles to ‘cloak’ his accounts. But cloak from whom? Did he expect that happy little Holland was going to declare war on America? The cloaking operation only makes sense in anticipation of a possible war with Nazi Germany. If Union Bank was not the conduit for laundering the Rockefeller’s Nazi investments back to America, then how could the Rockefeller-controlled Chase Manhattan Bank end up owning 31% of the Thyssen group after the war? It should be noted that the Thyssen group (TBG) is now the largest industrial conglomerate in Germany, and with a net worth of more than $50 billion dollars, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world. TBG is so rich it even bought out the Krupp family, famous arms makers for Hitler, leaving the Thyssens as the undisputed champion survivors of the Third Reich. Where did the Thyssens get the start-up money to rebuild their empire with such speed after World War II? . . . . A fortune this size could only have come from the Thyssen profits made from rearming the Third Reich, and then hidden, first from the Nazi tax auditors, and then from the Allies. The Bushes knew perfectly well that Brown Brothers was the American money channel into Nazi Germany, and that Union Bank was the secret pipeline to bring the Nazi money back to America from Holland. The Bushes had to have known how the secret money circuit worked because they were on the board of directors in both directions: Brown Brothers out, Union Bank in. . . .”
  8. Note that Paul Manning also came across the Bush, Thyssen, Netherlands link: ” . . . . Several decades after the war, investigative reporter Paul Manning, Edward R. Murrow’s colleague, stumbled across the Thyssen interrogations in the US National Archives. Manning intended to write a book about Nazi money laundering. Manning’s manuscript was a dagger at Allen Dulles’ throat: his book specifically mentioned the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart by name, albeit in passing. . . .”

“How the Bush Family Made Its Fortune from the Nazis” by John Loftus; accessed at Jim Craven’s Blog; 9/27/2000.

For the Bush family, it is a lingering nightmare. For their Nazi clients, the Dutch connection was the mother of all money laundering schemes. From 1945 until 1949, one of the lengthiest and, it now appears, most futile interrogations of a Nazi war crimes suspect began in the American Zone of Occupied Germany. Multibillionaire steel magnate Fritz Thyssen-the man whose steel combine was the cold heart of the Nazi war machine-talked and talked and talked to a joint US-UK interrogation team. For four long years, successive teams of inquisitors tried to break Thyssen’s simple claim to possess neither foreign bank accounts nor interests in foreign corporations, no assets that might lead to the missing billions in assets of the Third Reich. The inquisitors failed utterly.

Why? Because what the wily Thyssen deposed was, in a sense, true. What the Allied investigators never understood was that they were not asking Thyssen the right question. Thyssen did not need any foreign bank accounts because his family secretly owned an entire chain of banks. He did not have to transfer his Nazi assets at the end of World War II, all he had to do was transfer the ownership documents – stocks, bonds, deeds and trusts–from his bank in Berlin through his bank in Holland to his American friends in New York City: Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker. Thyssen’s partners in crime were the father and father-in-law of a future President of the United States.

The allied investigators underestimated Thyssen’s reach, his connections, his motives, and his means. The web of financial entities Thyssen helped create in the 1920’s remained a mystery for the rest of the twentieth century, an almost perfectly hidden underground sewer pipeline for moving dirty money, money that bankrolled the post-war fortunes not only of the Thyssen industrial empire…but the Bush family as well. It was a secret Fritz Thyssen would take to his grave.

It was a secret that would lead former US intelligence agent William Gowen, now pushing 80, to the very doorstep of the Dutch royal family. The Gowens are no strangers to controversy or nobility. His father was one of President Roosevelt’s diplomatic emissaries to Pope Pius XII, leading a futile attempt to persuade the Vatican to denounce Hitler’s treatment of Jews. It was his son, William Gowen, who served in Rome after World War II as a Nazi hunter and investigator with the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps. It was Agent Gowen who first discovered the secret Vatican Ratline for smuggling Nazis in 1949. It was also the same William Gowen who began to uncover the secret Dutch pipeline for smuggling Nazi money in 1999.

A half-century earlier, Fritz Thyssen was telling the allied investigators that he had no interest in foreign companies, that Hitler had turned on him and seized most of his property. His remaining assets were mostly in the Russian Occupied Zone of Germany (which he knew were a write-off anyway). His distant (and disliked) relatives in neutral nations like Holland were the actual owners of a substantial percentage of the remaining German industrial base. As innocent victims of the Third Reich, they were lobbying the allied occupation governments in Germany, demanding restitution of the property that had been seized from them by the Nazis.

Under the rules of the Allied occupation of Germany, all property owned by citizens of a neutral nation which had been seized by the Nazis had to be returned to the neutral citizens upon proper presentation of documents showing proof of ownership. Suddenly, all sorts of neutral parties, particularly in Holland, were claiming ownership of various pieces of the Thyssen empire. In his cell, Fritz Thyssen just smiled and waited to be released from prison while members of the Dutch royal family and the Dutch intelligence service reassembled his pre-war holdings for him.

The British and American interrogators may have gravely underestimated Thyssen but they nonetheless knew they were being lied to. Their suspicions focused on one Dutch Bank in particular, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, in Rotterdam. This bank did a lot of business with the Thyssens over the years. In 1923, as a favor to him, the Rotterdam bank loaned the money to build the very first Nazi party headquarters in Munich. But somehow the allied investigations kept going nowhere, the intelligence leads all seemed to dry up.

If the investigators realized that the US intelligence chief in postwar Germany, Allen Dulles, was also the Rotterdam bank’s lawyer, they might have asked some very interesting questions. They did not know that Thyssen was Dulles’ client as well. Nor did they ever realize that it was Allen Dulles’s other client, Baron Kurt Von Schroeder who was the Nazi trustee for the Thyssen companies which now claimed to be owned by the Dutch. The Rotterdam Bank was at the heart of Dulles’ cloaking scheme, and he guarded its secrets jealously.

Several decades after the war, investigative reporter Paul Manning, Edward R. Murrow’s colleague, stumbled across the Thyssen interrogations in the US National Archives. Manning intended to write a book about Nazi money laundering. Manning’s manuscript was a dagger at Allen Dulles’ throat: his book specifically mentioned the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart by name, albeit in passing. . . .

. . . . And so the Dutch connection remained unexplored until 1994 when I published the book The Secret War Against the Jews. As a matter of historical curiosity, I mentioned that Fritz Thyssen (and indirectly, the Nazi Party) had obtained their early financing from Brown Brothers Harriman, and its affiliate, the Union Banking Corporation. Union Bank, in turn, was the Bush family’s holding company for a number of other entities, including the “Holland American Trading Company.”

It was a matter of public record that the Bush holdings were seized by the US government after the Nazis overran Holland. In 1951, the Bush’s reclaimed Union Bank from the US Alien Property Custodian, along with their “neutral” Dutch assets. I did not realize it, but I had stumbled across a very large piece of the missing Dutch connection. Bush’s ownership of the Holland-American investment company was the missing link to Manning’s earlier research in the Thyssen investigative files. In 1981, Manning had written:

“Thyssen’s first step in a long dance of tax and currency frauds began [in the late 1930’s] when he disposed of his shares in the Dutch Hollandische-Amerikanische Investment Corporation to be credited to the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, N.V., Rotterdam, the bank founded in 1916 by August Thyssen Senior.”

In this one obscure paragraph, in a little known book, Manning had unwittingly documented two intriguing points: 1) The Bushes’ Union Bank had apparently bought the same corporate stock that the Thyssens were selling as part of their Nazi money laundering, and 2) the Rotterdam Bank, far from being a neutral Dutch institution, was founded by Fritz Thyssen’s father. In hindsight, Manning and I had uncovered different ends of the Dutch connection.

After reading the excerpt in my book about the Bush’s ownership of the Holland-American trading Company, retired US intelligence agent William Gowen began to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Mr. Gowen knew every corner of Europe from his days as a diplomat’s son, an American intelligence agent, and a newspaperman. William Gowen deserves sole credit for uncovering the mystery of how the Nazi industrialists hid their money from the Allies at the end of World War II.

In 1999, Mr. Gowen traveled to Europe, at his own expense, to meet a former member of Dutch intelligence who had detailed inside information about the Rotterdam bank. The scrupulous Gowen took a written statement and then had his source read and correct it for error. Here, in summary form, is how the Nazis hid their money in America.

After World War I, August Thyssen had been badly burned by the loss of assets under the harsh terms of the Versailles treaty. He was determined that it would never happen again. One of his sons would join the Nazis; the other would be neutral. No matter who won the next war, the Thyssen family would survive with their industrial empire intact. Fritz Thyssen joined the Nazis in 1923; his younger brother married into Hungarian nobility and changed his name to Baron [Heinrich] Thyssen-Bornemisza. The Baron later claimed Hungarian as well as Dutch citizenship. In public, he pretended to detest his Nazi brother, but in private they met at secret board meetings in Germany to coordinate their operations. If one brother were threatened with loss of property, he would transfer his holdings to the other.

To aid his sons in their shell game, August Thyssen had established three different banks during the 1920’s — The August Thyssen Bank in Berlin, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam, and the Union Banking Corporation in New York City. To protect their corporate holdings, all the brothers had to do was move the corporate paperwork from one bank to the other. This they did with some regularity. When Fritz Thyssen “sold” the Holland-American Trading Company for a tax loss, the Union Banking Corporation in New York bought the stock. Similarly, the Bush family invested the disguised Nazi profits in American steel and manufacturing corporations that became part of the secret Thyssen empire.

When the Nazis invaded Holland in May 1940, they investigated the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam. Fritz Thyssen was suspected by Hitler’s auditors of being a tax fraud and of illegally transferring his wealth outside the Third Reich. The Nazi auditors were right: Thyssen felt that Hitler’s economic policies would dilute his wealth through ruinous war inflation. He had been smuggling his war profits out through Holland. But the Rotterdam vaults were empty of clues to where the money had gone. The Nazis did not know that all of the documents evidencing secret Thyssen ownership had been quietly shipped back to the August Thyssen Bank in Berlin, under the friendly supervision of Baron Kurt Von Schroeder. Thyssen spent the rest of the war under VIP house arrest. He had fooled Hitler, hidden his immense profits, and now it was time to fool the Americans with same shell game.

As soon as Berlin fell to the allies, it was time to ship the documents back to Rotterdam so that the “neutral” bank could claim ownership under the friendly supervision of Allen Dulles, who, as the OSS intelligence chief in 1945 Berlin, was well placed to handle any troublesome investigations. Unfortunately, the August Thyssen Bank had been bombed during the war, and the documents were buried in the underground vaults beneath the rubble. Worse, the vaults lay in the Soviet Zone of Berlin.

According to Gowen’s source, Prince Bernhard commanded a unit of Dutch intelligence, which dug up the incriminating corporate papers in 1945 and brought them back to the “neutral” bank in Rotterdam. The pretext was that the Nazis had stolen the crown jewels of his wife, Princess Juliana, and the Russians gave the Dutch permission to dig up the vault and retrieve them. Operation Juliana was a Dutch fraud on the Allies who searched high and low for the missing pieces of the Thyssen fortune.

In 1945, the former Dutch manager of the Rotterdam bank resumed control only to discover that he was sitting on a huge pile of hidden Nazi assets. In 1947, the manager threatened to inform Dutch authorities, and was immediately fired by the Thyssens. The somewhat naive bank manager then fled to New York City where he intended to talk to Union Bank director Prescott Bush. As Gowen’s Dutch source recalled, the manager intended “to reveal [to Prescott Bush] the truth about Baron Heinrich and the Rotterdam Bank, [in order that] some or all of the Thyssen interests in the Thyssen Group might be seized and confiscated as German enemy property. The manager’s body was found in New York two weeks later.

Similarly, in 1996 a Dutch journalist Eddy Roever went to London to interview the Baron, who was neighbors with Margaret Thatcher. Roever’s body was discovered two days later. Perhaps, Gowen remarked dryly, it was only a coincidence that both healthy men had died of heart attacks immediately after trying to uncover the truth about the Thyssens.

Neither Gowen nor his Dutch source knew about the corroborating evidence in the Alien Property Custodian archives or in the OMGUS archives. Together, the two separate sets of US files overlap each other and directly corroborate Gowen’s source. The first set of archives confirms absolutely that the Union Banking Corporation in New York was owned by the Rotterdam Bank. The second set (quoted by Manning) confirms that the Rotterdam Bank in turn was owned by the Thyssens.

It is not surprising that these two American agencies never shared their Thyssen files. As the noted historian Burton Hersh documented:

“The Alien Property Custodian, Leo Crowley, was on the payroll of the New York J. Henry Schroeder Bank where Foster and Allen Dulles both sat as board members. Foster arranged an appointment for himself as special legal counsel for the Alien Property Custodian while simultaneously representing [German] interests against the custodian.” 

. . . .  He [Manning] was very close to uncovering the fact that the Bush’s bank in New York City was secretly owned by the Nazis, before during and after WWII. Once Thyssen ownership of the Union Banking Corporation is proven, it makes out a prima facie case of treason against the Dulles and Bush families for giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war.

PART TWO

The first key fact to be proven in any criminal case is that the Thyssen family secretly owned the Bush’s Bank. Apart from Gowen’s source, and the twin American files, a third set of corroboration comes from the Thyssen family themselves. In 1979, the present Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza (Fritz Thyssen’s nephew) prepared a written family history to be shared with his top management. A copy of this thirty-page tome entitled “The History of the Thyssen Family and Their Activities”was provided by Gowen’s source. It contains the following Thyssen admissions:

“Thus, at the beginning of World War II the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart had become the holding of my father’s companies – a Dutch firm whose only shareholder was a Hungarian citizen. Prior to 1929, it held the shares of .the August Thyssen Bank, and also American subsidiaries and the Union Banking Corporation, New York. The shares of all the affiliates were [in 1945] with the August Thyssen Bank in the East Sector of Berlin, from where I was able to have them transferred into the West at the last moment”

“After the war the Dutch government ordered an investigation into the status of the holding company and, pending the result, appointed a Dutch former general manager of my father who turned against our family.. In that same year, 1947, I returned to Germany for the first time after the war, disguised as a Dutch driver in military uniform, to establish contact with our German directors”

“The situation of the Group gradually began to be resolved but it was not until 1955 that the German companies were freed from Allied control and subsequently disentangled. Fortunately, the companies in the group suffered little from dismantling. At last we were in a position to concentrate on purely economic problems — the reconstruction and extension of the companies and the expansion of the organization.”

“The banking department of the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, which also functioned as the Group’s holding company, merged in 1970 with Nederlandse Credietbank N.V. which increased its capital. The Group received 25 percent.The Chase Manhattan Bank holds 31%. The name Thyssen-Bornemisza Group was selected for the new holding company.”

Thus the twin US Archives, Gowen’s Dutch source, and the Thyssen family history all independently confirm that President Bush’s father and grandfather served on the board of a bank that was secretly owned by the leading Nazi industrialists. The Bush connection to these American institutions is a matter of public record. What no one knew, until Gowen’s brilliant research opened the door, was that the Thyssens were the secret employers of the Bush family.

But what did the Bush family know about their Nazi connection and when did they know it? As senior managers of Brown Brothers Harriman, they had to have known that their American clients, such as the Rockefellers, were investing heavily in German corporations, including Thyssen’s giant Vereinigte Stahlwerke. As noted historian Christopher Simpson repeatedly documents, it is a matter of public record that Brown Brother’s investments in Nazi Germany took place under the Bush family stewardship.

When war broke out was Prescott Bush stricken with a case of Waldheimers disease, a sudden amnesia about his Nazi past? Or did he really believe that our friendly Dutch allies owned the Union Banking Corporation and its parent bank in Rotterdam? It should be recalled that in January 1937, he hired Allen Dulles to “cloak” his accounts. But cloak from whom? Did he expect that happy little Holland was going to declare war on America? The cloaking operation only makes sense in anticipation of a possible war with Nazi Germany. If Union Bank was not the conduit for laundering the Rockefeller’s Nazi investments back to America, then how could the Rockefeller-controlled Chase Manhattan Bank end up owning 31% of the Thyssen group after the war?

It should be noted that the Thyssen group (TBG) is now the largest industrial conglomerate in Germany, and with a net worth of more than $50 billion dollars, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world. TBG is so rich it even bought out the Krupp family, famous arms makers for Hitler, leaving the Thyssens as the undisputed champion survivors of the Third Reich. Where did the Thyssens get the start-up money to rebuild their empire with such speed after World War II?

The enormous sums of money deposited into the Union Bank prior to 1942 are the best evidence that Prescott Bush knowingly served as a money launderer for the Nazis. Remember that Union Banks’ books and accounts were frozen by the U.S. Alien Property Custodian in 1942 and not released back to the Bush family until 1951. At that time, Union Bank shares representing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of industrial stocks and bonds were unblocked for distribution. Did the Bush family really believe that such enormous sums came from Dutch enterprises? One could sell tulip bulbs and wooden shoes for centuries and not achieve those sums. A fortune this size could only have come from the Thyssen profits made from rearming the Third Reich, and then hidden, first from the Nazi tax auditors, and then from the Allies.

The Bushes knew perfectly well that Brown Brothers was the American money channel into Nazi Germany, and that Union Bank was the secret pipeline to bring the Nazi money back to America from Holland. The Bushes had to have known how the secret money circuit worked because they were on the board of directors in both directions: Brown Brothers out, Union Bank in.

Moreover, the size of their compensation is commensurate with their risk as Nazi money launderers. In 1951, Prescott Bush and his father in law each received one share of Union Bank stock, worth $750,000 each. One and a half million dollars was a lot of money in 1951. But then, from the Thyssen point of view, buying the Bushes was the best bargain of the war.

The bottom line is harsh: It is bad enough that the Bush family helped raise the money for Thyssen to give Hitler his start in the 1920’s, but giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war is treason. The Bush’s bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that killed allied soldiers. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse. Thyssen’s coal mines used Jewish slaves as if they were disposable chemicals. There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet, and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered about the Bush family’s complicity.

 

Discussion

2 comments for “Fascism, Globalization and Money Laundering: Review of the Bush Family Tree”

  1. I’ve always wondered why Manning thanks Dulles at the beginning of his book. Clearly, Manning was naive about the input of Dulles given his motivation for keeping tabs on the unknowing author. Canada has had to deal with at least one of the tentacles of the Thyssen octopus in the form of Karl Heinz Schreiber. A great account of this can be read in Stevie Cameron’s The Last Amigo. On pages 194 and 195 are tantalizing references to Ilse Skorzeny, wife of Nazi commando Otto, when Schreiber was meeting with her in February, 1990.

    Posted by Brad | March 3, 2019, 6:48 am
  2. Here’s a rather sad update on a legal case of art stolen by the Nazis that wound up in the collection of Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. The story also highlights how Swiss and Spanish law is quite useful for what amounts to art laundering. The case centers around an attempt from the heirs of Lilly Cassirer, a German Jew who was forced to sell at a paltry price a valuable painting by Camille Pissarro in order to secure her safe passage out of Germany. The painting had long been assumed lost by her heirs, until a friend came across the painting in a Spanish government-run museum. That museum purchased the entire art collection of Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza in 1993 for around $350 million and named the museum after him.

    Thyssen-Bornemisza, in turn, purchased the painting in 1976. The Cassirer family in the US is suing for the return of the piece on the grounds that when Thyssen-Bornemisza bought the piece there were reasons to believe that it was stolen art and he didn’t do adequate due diligence. According to Spanish law, the sale of stolen art is legal as long as the purchasers makes the purchase in good faith without realizing it’s stolen and does adequate due diligence.

    So this case as been moving up through US courts for years and now a US federal judge ruled that the Spanish museum that acquired the stolen art when it purchased Thyssen-Bornemisza doesn’t have to return the painting to the Cassirer family because the museum didn’t know the painting was stolen when they purchased. The judge did criticize Thyssen-Bornemisza for not doing adequate due diligence when he bought it in 1976. The judge also criticized the Spanish government for its decision to keep the painting which is inconsistent with international agreements that Spain has signed. But according to Spanish law, the museum can keep the stolen art and that’s what the US federal judge was forced to rule, although the judge also indicated that an appeal could still be possible::

    Associated Press

    LA judge rules Spanish museum can keep Nazi-looted painting

    By JOHN ROGERS
    April 30, 2019

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Tuesday that a Spanish museum that acquired a priceless, Nazi-looted painting in 1992 is the work’s rightful owner, and not the survivors of the Jewish woman who surrendered it 80 years ago to escape the Holocaust.

    Although U.S. District Judge John F. Walter criticized Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the German industrialist whose name now graces the Madrid museum where the painting by Camille Pissarro hangs, for not doing all of the due diligence he could have when he acquired it in 1976, he found no evidence the museum knew it was looted art when it took possession in 1993.

    Under Spanish law, he ruled, the painting is legally the museum’s, although he also criticized Spain, calling its decision to keep it “inconsistent” with international agreements that it and other countries have signed “based upon the moral principle that art and cultural property confiscated by the Nazis from Holocaust (Shoah) victims should be returned to them or their heirs.”

    The museum’s U.S. attorney, Thaddeus Stauber, said he believes the decision finally puts an end to a bitter legal fight that has pitted the family of Lilly Cassirer against the museum for 20 years.

    Walter, who has seen the case returned to court twice by appeals and conducted the trial Stauber mentioned last December, indicated in his 34-page ruling that another appeal still could be possible. A lawyer for Lilly Cassirer’s great-grandson, David Cassirer of San Diego, didn’t say whether the family plans to appeal.

    “We respectfully disagree that the court cannot force the Kingdom of Spain to comply with its moral commitments,” attorney Steve Zack said.

    The painting at issue, Pissarro’s “Rue St.-Honore, Apres-Midi, Effet de Pluie,” is a stunning oil-on-canvas work depicting a rainy Paris street scene the artist observed from his window in 1897.

    It was purchased directly from Pissarro’s art dealer in 1900 by the father-in-law of Lilly Cassirer, who eventually inherited it and displayed it in her home for years. When she and her family fled the Holocaust in 1939 she traded it for passage out of the country.

    For years the family thought it was lost, and the German government paid her $13,000 in reparations in 1958.

    Then in 1999 a friend of her grandson, Claude, who had seen photos of the painting, discovered it was in the Thyssen-Bornemisza. It had been hanging there since shortly after a nonprofit foundation funded by Spain bought the baron’s entire collection for $350 million and named the museum for him.

    The painting had been sold and resold after Cassirer and her family fled Germany. The baron, a German industrialist who settled later in Spain, bought it from a U.S. dealer for $300,000 in 1976.

    The baron never hid the painting, putting it on exhibition often.

    “The court finds that there were sufficient suspicious circumstances or ‘red flags’ which should have prompted the baron to conduct additional inquires as to the seller’s title,” the judge said.

    Still, despite missing and torn provenance labels, the judge concluded that the baron and the museum foundation did not know the work was looted, and under Spanish law that allows the museum to keep it.

    ———

    “LA judge rules Spanish museum can keep Nazi-looted painting” by JOHN ROGERS; Associated Press; 04/30/2019

    “Although U.S. District Judge John F. Walter criticized Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the German industrialist whose name now graces the Madrid museum where the painting by Camille Pissarro hangs, for not doing all of the due diligence he could have when he acquired it in 1976, he found no evidence the museum knew it was looted art when it took possession in 1993.”

    It’s a rather tragic ruling: Yes, Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza neglected to do due diligence when he purchased the painting in 1976, but there’s no evidence the museum had reason to believe it was stolen art when it bought the collection in 1993 and according to Spanish law that means the museum can keep the art. As the judge noted, this goes against international treaties that Spain signed:


    Under Spanish law, he ruled, the painting is legally the museum’s, although he also criticized Spain, calling its decision to keep it “inconsistent” with international agreements that it and other countries have signed “based upon the moral principle that art and cultural property confiscated by the Nazis from Holocaust (Shoah) victims should be returned to them or their heirs.”

    And note how Thyssen-Bornemisza never hid the fact that he bought the painting and often put it on exhibition. And that’s despite that the court found that there were sufficient ‘red flags’ that this was stolen work. But those red flags don’t invalidate the museums subsequent purchase of the art according to Spanish law:


    Then in 1999 a friend of her grandson, Claude, who had seen photos of the painting, discovered it was in the Thyssen-Bornemisza. It had been hanging there since shortly after a nonprofit foundation funded by Spain bought the baron’s entire collection for $350 million and named the museum for him.

    The painting had been sold and resold after Cassirer and her family fled Germany. The baron, a German industrialist who settled later in Spain, bought it from a U.S. dealer for $300,000 in 1976.

    The baron never hid the painting, putting it on exhibition often.

    “The court finds that there were sufficient suspicious circumstances or ‘red flags’ which should have prompted the baron to conduct additional inquires as to the seller’s title,” the judge said.

    Still, despite missing and torn provenance labels, the judge concluded that the baron and the museum foundation did not know the work was looted, and under Spanish law that allows the museum to keep it.

    Now, to get a better idea of the ‘red flags’ that Thyssen-Bornemisza was ignoring when he made the purchase in 1976, here’s an article from December that gives some more details on the case. The article notes that the museum is run by the Spanish government and that the US federal court was placed in an unusual situation where it had to make its ruling based on Spanish law and rule on whether or not the museum was acting as an accessory in the theft of the painting. That was the legal bar for getting the painting returned under Spanish law. So the case hinged on finding that Thyssen-Bornemisza knew it was stolen when he purchased it in 1976 and the museum knew it was stolen when they purchased the collection in 1993. And in terms of the evidence that Thyssen-Bornemisza knew it was stolen, the plaintiffs pointed out that Thyssen-Bornemisza was a sophisticated art buyer who used experts to examine works. More importantly, when he bought the painting it still had a label identifying it as part of the Cassirer Gallery in Berlin. It’s widely known in the art world that the Cassirer paintings had been looted by the Nazis:

    The Miami Herald

    Miami lawyer leads legal charge against Spain to return Pissarro painting looted by Nazis

    BY DAVID OVALLE
    NOVEMBER 30, 2018 07:00 AM, UPDATED DECEMBER 02, 2018 05:55 PM

    Gazing through the window of his Paris hotel room in 1897, influential Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro painted a dreamy street scene alive with suited men, horse-drawn carriages and bustling shops. More than a century later, the St. Honoré St., Afternoon, Effect of Rain now hangs as a signature piece in Spain’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

    But the oil-on-canvas masterpiece has a dark past: the Nazis strong-armed it away from Lilly Cassirer, whose prominent Jewish family owned an art gallery in Germany in the 1930s.

    After years of legal battles, the Cassirer family — with help from prominent Miami lawyer Steve Zack — next week will finally get a chance to convince a federal judge to order Spain to return the priceless work of art. Monday’s trial in a Los Angeles federal court will be closely watched in the art world, and for those who have fought for decades to return art looted by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

    For Zack, a former American Bar Association and Florida Bar president, the case has special resonance. He is Jewish. And Zack and his family were forced to flee Cuba by the island’s Communist authoritarian regime.

    “This is important in different ways to many communities,” Zack said of the case. “Jewish and Cuban families suffered, from the Nazis and the Casto regime. When we took on this case, it had a significant meaning far beyond just one case.”

    Tracking down Nazi-looted art has been a priority for world leaders, who this month celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Washington Principles, a treaty aimed at returning the pieces to their rightful owners.

    The Nazi regime stole an estimated 600,000 paintings before and during World War II, Stuart E. Eizenstat, a U.S. State Department adviser who helped establish the treaty, said at the conference earlier this month. He told the conference that at least 100,000 paintings remain unrecovered, according to the New York Times, and singled out five countries, including Spain, for resisting efforts to return art stolen by Hitler’s henchmen.

    As U.S. deputy secretary of the Treasury under the Clinton administration, Eizenstat urged Spain to return the Cassirer family’s painting to no avail.

    The odyssey of the Pissarro painting began in 1900, when his exclusive agent sold the work to the Cassirers, who owned a prominent gallery in Berlin. Lilly Cassirer inherited the piece in 1926, and displayed it her parlor. By 1939, as the Nazis were systematically destroying Jewish society and preparing to unleash their war machine on Europe, Cassirer was forced to sell them the painting for a paltry sum in exchange for safe passage out of Germany.

    During the war, the Nazis sold the painting to an anonymous buyer. For decades, the Cassirers believed the painting was lost, until a family friend in 2000 spotted it at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum.

    So what happened? The painting — today valued at at least $40 million — wound up in the hands of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, a member of the famous German industrialist family. Records show he had purchased the painting in 1976 from St. Louis collector Sydney Schoenberg through the Stephen Hahn Gallery in New York.

    Spain later bought Thyssen-Bornemisza’s art collection for display at the government-run museum that bears his name. The baron died in 2002. For years after the painting was spotted, the Cassirer family repeatedly asked the museum to return the painting.

    In an unusual court room scenario, the Los Angeles federal judge must rule under Spanish legal standards. Spain and the museum will argue that Thyssen-Bornemisza bought the masterpiece in good faith — that the baron never knew the painting was ripped off from the family by the Nazis.

    “No evidence of bad faith can be found in the Baron’s ownership of the painting – during which time the painting was publicized and publicly exhibited in international tours between 1979 and 1986, and in the 1988 magazine Architectural Digest,” the museum’s legal team, headed by Thaddeus Stauber, wrote in court documents.

    Stauber declined to comment before the trial.

    The Cassirer family’s legal team must prove that museum was an encubrador — in Spanish law, an accessory to the theft of the art decades earlier.

    They point out that Thyssen-Bornemisza was a sophisticated art buyer who employed a cadre of experts to examine works. When he bought the painting in New York, it still had a label identifying it as part of the Cassirer Gallery in Berlin. Within the art world, it was widely known that the Cassirer painting had been targeted by the Nazis.

    “It was easy to find out this was looted,” Boies said.

    In the years after the purchase, Thyssen-Bornemisza also fudged details of the purchase to try and hide that he knew the Pissarro was a stolen work of art, according to the lawyers.

    The trial is before U.S. District Judge John Walter, and is expected to last at least three days.

    ———-

    “Miami lawyer leads legal charge against Spain to return Pissarro painting looted by Nazis” by DAVID OVALLE; The Miami Herald; 11/30/2018

    In an unusual court room scenario, the Los Angeles federal judge must rule under Spanish legal standards. Spain and the museum will argue that Thyssen-Bornemisza bought the masterpiece in good faith — that the baron never knew the painting was ripped off from the family by the Nazis.”

    So the case has to be ruled under Spanish legal standards, and that means the Cassirer family must prove that the museum was an accessory to the crime that took place years earlier. And that’s despite the fact that there appears to be compelling evidence that Thyssen-Bornemisza knew it was stolen at the time of his purchase since it still had a label identifying as part of the Cassirer Gallery in Berlin, a Gallery that was widely known in the art world to have been looted by Nazis:


    The Cassirer family’s legal team must prove that museum was an encubrador — in Spanish law, an accessory to the theft of the art decades earlier.

    They point out that Thyssen-Bornemisza was a sophisticated art buyer who employed a cadre of experts to examine works. When he bought the painting in New York, it still had a label identifying it as part of the Cassirer Gallery in Berlin. Within the art world, it was widely known that the Cassirer painting had been targeted by the Nazis.

    “It was easy to find out this was looted,” Boies said.

    In the years after the purchase, Thyssen-Bornemisza also fudged details of the purchase to try and hide that he knew the Pissarro was a stolen work of art, according to the lawyers.

    Beyond that, according to the following article, when Thyssen-Bornemisza bought the painting in 1976 for $275,000, that was half the price one would have expected to pay at the time, suggesting that the low price was paid because both the buyer and seller knew it was stolen:

    Artsy

    Appeals Court Revives 16-Year Lawsuit over $40 Million Nazi-Looted Pissarro

    Isaac Kaplan
    Jul 10, 2017 7:06 pm

    On Monday, a federal appeals court in San Francisco revived a 16-year-long Nazi restitution dispute centered on an Impressionist painting by Camille Pissarro, the value of which could exceed $40 million.

    Currently held by Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Rue Saint-Honoré, Après-midi, Effet de Pluie (1897) was originally owned by German-Jew Lilly Cassirer, who sold the work to a Nazi functionary in 1939 for roughly $360. Asserting the transaction was a forced sale, Cassirer’s heirs filed a petition in 2001 in Spain seeking the work’s return after they learned where it was being held. When the petition was denied, Cassirer’s grandson and great-grandchildren sued the Spanish museum in 2005.

    In June of 2015, a lower court dismissed the suit, ruling the museum held the rights to the painting under Spanish law.

    But Monday’s ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that while Spanish law does apply, a trial is required to determine whether or not the museum knew the painting was stolen when it was acquired in 1993 from Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza as part of a $338 million purchase of his collection.

    “We’re obviously very pleased,” Stephen Zack, a Boies, Schiller & Flexner partner representing the Cassirers, told Reuters in a phone interview. “This has been a scar they’ve had to deal with for generations.”

    As is typical in Holocaust restitution cases, the work’s provenance stretches across multiple continents. The baron bought the Pissaro work in 1976 from New York’s Stephen Hahn Gallery and then took it to Switzerland where it remained until 1992.

    Unlike U.S. law, under Swiss law, title to a stolen artwork can pass if a purchaser acted in good faith and did not know the work was stolen. But the appeals court noted a good faith transaction wouldn’t occur if the purchaser “failed to exercise the diligence required by the circumstances.”

    The Cassirer heirs have long asserted that there was reason to suspect the work’s provenance. One example is that in purchasing the piece from Stephen Hahn Gallery, the Baron paid $275,000—what an expert for the heirs testified “was approximately half of what would have been expected in a dealer sale, and that there is no reasonable explanation for this price other than dubious provenance.”

    “After reviewing the record developed before the district court, we conclude that there is a triable issue of fact as to the Baron’s good faith,” the appellate decision reads, noting the museum “has not established, as a matter of law, that it did not have actual knowledge the [Pissarro] was stolen property.”

    Thaddeus Stauber, a lawyer for the foundation which runs the museum, disputed the findings, telling Reuters that the purchase was made in good faith and that he was “confident that the foundation’s ownership of the painting will once again be confirmed.”

    Broadly, the Cassirer case exemplifies the complex and sometimes conflicting nature of the law and ethics when it comes to Holocaust restitution cases. Neither party disputes the piece passed into Nazi hands through “forced sale,” or one made for diminished value under coercive circumstances. But the museum notes that they had nothing to do with how the work was taken, and asserts that under Swiss and Spanish law they hold good title to the Pissaro.

    “This isn’t a case where people disagree about whether the art was stolen,” said Nicholas O’Donnell, art lawyer and author of A Tragic Fate: Law and Ethics in the Battle over Nazi-Looted Art. “And yet here we are.”

    ———-

    “Appeals Court Revives 16-Year Lawsuit over $40 Million Nazi-Looted Pissarro” by Isaac Kaplan; Artsy; 07/10/2017

    “The Cassirer heirs have long asserted that there was reason to suspect the work’s provenance. One example is that in purchasing the piece from Stephen Hahn Gallery, the Baron paid $275,000—what an expert for the heirs testified “was approximately half of what would have been expected in a dealer sale, and that there is no reasonable explanation for this price other than dubious provenance.””

    As we can see, the evidence that Thyssen-Bornemisza knew this was stolen when he made the purchase is pretty compelling. But under Spanish and Swiss law (the painting was taken to Switzerland after the 1976 purchase), whether or not Thyssen-Bornemisza knew it was stolen when he made the purchase is beside the point as long as the museum isn’t found to have had a reason to also believe it was stolen when it bought his collection. And yet today the museum doesn’t deny that painting was stolen. So even when the plaintiffs and defendants are both in agreement that the art was stolen, the museum can still hold good title to the art according to Spanish and Swiss law because as long as the museum can make the case that id didn’t think it was stolen at the time:


    As is typical in Holocaust restitution cases, the work’s provenance stretches across multiple continents. The baron bought the Pissaro work in 1976 from New York’s Stephen Hahn Gallery and then took it to Switzerland where it remained until 1992.

    Unlike U.S. law, under Swiss law, title to a stolen artwork can pass if a purchaser acted in good faith and did not know the work was stolen. But the appeals court noted a good faith transaction wouldn’t occur if the purchaser “failed to exercise the diligence required by the circumstances.”

    Broadly, the Cassirer case exemplifies the complex and sometimes conflicting nature of the law and ethics when it comes to Holocaust restitution cases. Neither party disputes the piece passed into Nazi hands through “forced sale,” or one made for diminished value under coercive circumstances. But the museum notes that they had nothing to do with how the work was taken, and asserts that under Swiss and Spanish law they hold good title to the Pissaro.

    “This isn’t a case where people disagree about whether the art was stolen,” said Nicholas O’Donnell, art lawyer and author of A Tragic Fate: Law and Ethics in the Battle over Nazi-Looted Art. “And yet here we are.”

    So is there any evidence that the museum had reason to believe this painting was stolen when they made the purchase in 1993? Well, according to the following article from 2017 about the federal appeals court ruling that revived the lawsuit, the appeals court found that it was an open question whether or not the museum knew the paining was stolen. Why? Because the price $338 million price paid for Thyssen-Bornemisza’s art collection was far below its estimated value of $1-2 billion. The US appeals court found that the price discrepancy, as well as the below-market value paid for the painting in 1976, was enough to reopen the case according to Spanish law:

    Reuters

    Madrid museum must face heirs’ claim in Nazi art case: U.S. appeals court

    Jonathan Stempel
    July 10, 2017 / 1:12 PM

    REUTERS – A federal appeals court on Monday revived a lawsuit seeking to force a Madrid museum to return an Impressionist masterpiece to the family of a Jewish woman who was compelled to sell it to a Nazi art appraiser for $360 in 1939 so she could flee Germany.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said two of Lilly Cassirer’s great-grandchildren may sue the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum for the return of Camille Pissarro’s 1897 depiction of a Paris street scene, “Rue Saint-Honoré, Après-midi, Effet de Pluie.”

    Monday’s decision revived a 16-year legal battle that began after the Cassirers learned that the Pissarro, whose value may exceed $40 million, was on display in the Madrid museum, its home since 1992.

    Applying Spanish law, the appeals court said it was an open question whether the museum knew the painting was stolen when it acquired it in 1993 in a $338 million purchase of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza’s art collection.

    It said that price was well below the collection’s estimated $1 billion to $2 billion value, and the baron may have known he also got a bargain when he bought the Pissarro from a New York art dealer for $275,000 in 1976.

    “The Cassirers have created a triable issue of fact whether (the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection) knew the painting was stolen from Lilly when TBC purchased the painting from the Baron,” Circuit Judge Carlos Bea wrote. “There is a triable issue of fact as to the Baron’s good faith.”

    Bea also said Lilly Cassirer did not waive her ownership rights when Germany’s government paid her 120,000 marks for the loss of the painting in 1958, when its whereabouts were unknown.

    ———–

    “Madrid museum must face heirs’ claim in Nazi art case: U.S. appeals court” by Jonathan Stempel; Reuters; 07/10/2017

    “Monday’s decision revived a 16-year legal battle that began after the Cassirers learned that the Pissarro, whose value may exceed $40 million, was on display in the Madrid museum, its home since 1992.”

    So that 2017 appeals court decision reopens the case. And it reopened the case by noting that the question of whether or not both the museum and Thyssen-Bornemisza had reason to believe the works were stolen when they made their respective purchases. And in both cases the big clue was the fact that they were getting really good deals far below market values:


    Applying Spanish law, the appeals court said it was an open question whether the museum knew the painting was stolen when it acquired it in 1993 in a $338 million purchase of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza’s art collection.

    It said that price was well below the collection’s estimated $1 billion to $2 billion value, and the baron may have known he also got a bargain when he bought the Pissarro from a New York art dealer for $275,000 in 1976.

    That’s part of what makes the final ruling so sad. Not only is there strong evidence that Thyssen-Bornemisza knew he was getting stolen art, but that same kind of evidence applies to the museum’s purchase of the whole art collection.

    And since it wasn’t just that painting but the entire collection that was sold at a heavy discount to the museum, that raises how much of the rest of the art in that collection was also stolen. So beyond the question of whether or not this case gets another appeal, it’s going to be interesting to see if this is the last lawsuit brought against that museum.

    So now you know, if you have some stolen Nazi art to sell, take it to Switzerland or Spain and make sure everyone plays really dumb.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 3, 2019, 12:56 pm

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