Silver Stolen by Nazis Returned to Original Owners

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A German museum curator polishes the silver, readying it for transport. (AP News/Matthias Schrader)

After 85 years, silver stolen by Nazis will finally be returned to the present-day living descendants of former Holocaust survivors, the Ackerman family.

The silver pieces to be returned are a bowl and a small lamp, taken before the Ackerman family was killed in the Holocaust.

“It’s going to be an emotional pin-ball machine,” explained Eric Robinson, the program director of the Jewish London. “There’s going to be many people who are Holocaust survivors, or their descendants, who have not had a chance to see tangible evidence from before the war.”

The Ackerman family was comprised of Adolf and Mina, and their extended family, who were all murdered. Their one surviving son, Theodor, would later travel to South Africa and then London, where he became a chemistry professor at Western University. The couple had no children and passed away in 1993 and 2004.

“This is a very important step in restitution. Items left behind by Holocaust survivors are powerful symbols. The Nuremberg Laws were designed not just to take wealth away from Jews, but also dignity and humanity,” said Robinson. “The tragedy goes much deeper than just losing objects.”

The two items, being the cup and the lamp, both had important origins. The silver cup had an important role in religious families, as well as coming from the Bavarian National Museum. The other item being the lamp, served to emit light at nighttime as a status symbol, originating from the City Museum of Munich.

Robinson said due to the foundation not being properly equipped to take care of the items, they were handed over to the Museum London.

“We don’t have the resources to maintain the silver or do the upkeep. They have an education department, they have the curatorial department, they have the preservation department. And it’s wonderful that we’re able to have a partner of that caliber here in the city.”

Written by Kevin Han

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