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Case Summary

Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar v. Elicofon

Fed. Republic of Germany v. Elicofon, 358 F.Supp. 747(E.D.N.Y. 1970), aff’'d sub nom. Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar v. Elicofon, 478 F.2d 231 (2d Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 931 (1974), reh’g denied, 416 U.S. 952 (1974); see also Fed. Republic of Germany v. Elicofon, 536 F. Supp. 813 (E.D.N.Y. 1978); Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar v. Elicofon, 536 F. Supp. 829 (E.D.N.Y. 1981), aff’d, 678 F.2d 1150 (2d Cir. 1982).


This ownership dispute over two Dürer paintings is significant because it was brought against a good faith purchaser, not by a victim of Nazi looting, but by the Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar, a museum located in a country (East Germany) not recognized by the United States at the time.  After East Germany was recognized, however, federal courts in New York ruled the Museum to be the rightful owner of the works, rejecting Elicofon’s statute of limitations and laches defenses.     

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