Thursday, June 30, 2022



Two items came to my attention within the last couple of days concerning the Nazis and persons aged 101 years.

Now an anvil does not need to fall on my head to draw my attention to something that is somewhat unusual. I don’t know what the significance is or why two such stories within a couple of days of each other happened but it is worthy of a Bytes post . . .


The first is a story from the Smithsonian Magazine, the link to that article being:

An article about the story can also be found in the Daily Mail at:

The following is the Daily Mail article:

101-year-old former Dutch resistance fighter is reunited with £50,000 painting... 78 years after it was looted from her father by the Nazis in WWII

A 101-year-old woman has been reunited with a painting that was looted from her father by the Nazis during the Second World War – but is now selling it so her family can benefit. Charlotte Bischoff van Heemskerck, who was a member of the Dutch resistance during the war, had given up hope of ever seeing the 1683 painting again.

By Dutch master Caspar Netscher, it depicts seated man Steven Wolters and had hung in Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck's home in Arnhem in the Netherlands.

Her father, Joan Hendrik Smidt van Gelder, a doctor who was in charge of the city's children's hospital, went into hiding after refusing to follow the orders of the Nazis.He stored the painting, along with 13 others, in a bank vault in Arnhem, believing it would be safe from the Nazis' clutches. The paintings remained hidden for four years after the Nazis' invasion of the Netherlands in 1940. But in 1944, after the failed Operation Market Garden attempt by Britain and Allied forces to re-take Arnhem, the Nazis looted the city and stole the paintings.

Detective work by the London-based Commission for Looted Art in Europe tracked the Netscher painting down at the end of last year and returned it to Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck. She is now selling the painting so her 'heirs' can enjoy the proceeds. It has been given an upper estimate of £50,000 by auction house Sotheby's, with whom it is being sold on July 7.

Ms Charlotte Bischoff van Heemskerck points to the art work in her home.

By Dutch master Caspar Netscher, the painting depicts seated man Steven Wolters and had hung in Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck's home in Arnhem in the Netherlands

The Commission for Looted Art found that the painting had surfaced at a Düsseldorf gallery in the mid-1950s. It was then auctioned in Amsterdam in 1969 and bought by a private Germany-based collector. The collector agreed to return the painting to Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck last year. Her father died in 1969 with no knowledge of what had happened to the painting. Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck was reunited with the painting last November and, after six months with the painting back in her hands, she is selling it. Speaking on BBC Radio 4 about the rediscovery, Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck said: 'I was flabbergasted to have it back, you can understand.' She added: 'I really felt moved because it was such a beautiful painting… I was very happy when I saw it back.

Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck on her wedding day

The painting was returned to Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck last year. Above: The moment she saw the painting for the first time in more than 80 years

Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck joined the Dutch resistance after the family's paintings had been taken, whilst her father went into hiding. The family's other paintings were also sold off. Previous detective work by Anne Webber, the founder of the Commission for Looted Art, discovered one – Jacob Oschtervelt's The Oyster Meal – in 2017. It had ended up in the collection of the lord mayor of London at Mansion House. It was returned to Ms Bischoff van Heemskerck in 2017.


The other item is from at:

101-year-old ex-Nazi guard sentenced for aiding 3,500 murders
June 28, 2022

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard was convicted in Germany Tuesday of more than 3,500 counts of accessory to murder — becoming the oldest person to date to be held accountable for crimes related to the Holocaust. The Neuruppin Regional Court sentenced Josef Schütz to five years in prison, although he is unlikely to serve any time behind bars because of his poor health, advanced age and a lengthy appeals process.

Schütz had denied working as a Schutzstaffel guard at the Sachsenhausen camp and aiding and abetting the murder of 3,518 prisoners. In the trial, which opened in October, the centenarian said that he had worked as a farm laborer near Pasewalk in northeastern Germany during the period in question and never wore a German uniform. However, the court considered it proven that starting at age 21, he worked at the camp on the outskirts of Berlin between 1942 and 1945 as an enlisted member of the Nazi Party’s paramilitary wing, the German news agency dpa reported.

“The court has come to the conclusion that, contrary to what you claim, you worked in the concentration camp as a guard for about three years,” presiding Judge Udo Lechtermann said, according to dpa. He added that, in doing so, the defendant had assisted in the Nazis’ terror and murder mechanism. “You willingly supported this mass extermination with your activity,” Lechtermann said. “You watched deported people being cruelly tortured and murdered there every day for three years.”

And it’s a very important thing because it gives closure to the relatives of the victims,” Zuroff added. “The fact that these people all of a sudden feel that their loss is being addressed and the suffering of their family who they lost in the camps is being addressed … is a very important thing.”

Sachsenhausen was established in 1936 just north of Berlin as the first new site after Adolf Hitler gave the SS full control of the Nazi concentration camp system. More than 200,000 people were held there between 1936 and 1945. Tens of thousands of inmates died of starvation, disease, forced labor and other causes, as well as through medical experiments and systematic SS extermination operations including shootings, hangings and gassing with Zyklon-B. Exact numbers on those killed vary, with upper estimates of some 100,000, though scholars suggest figures of 40,000 to 50,000 are likely more accurate.

In its early years, most inmates were either political prisoners or criminal convicts, but they also included some Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals. The first large group of Jewish prisoners was brought there in 1938 after the so-called Night of Broken Glass, or Kristallnacht, an anti-Semitic pogrom. During the war, Sachsenhausen was expanded to include Soviet prisoners of war — who were shot by the thousands — as well as others. As in other camps, Jewish prisoners were singled out at Sachsenhausen for particularly harsh treatment, and most who remained alive by 1942 were sent to the Auschwitz death camp.

Former Nazi concentration camp guard Josef Schütz, 101, hides his face behind a folder in a German court Tuesday, before he was convicted of more than 3,500 counts of accessory to murder.


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