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US Supreme Court agrees to hear Holocaust art restitution case

In this March 21, 2021 file photo, security fencing surrounds the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AP/Patrick Semansky, File)
In this March 21, 2021 file photo, security fencing surrounds the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AP/Patrick Semansky, File)

The Supreme Court announces that it is adding five new cases to its calendar for the term that begins next week, including a case dealing with the restitution of art seized by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

The court agrees to hear an appeal from the heirs of a German Jewish woman and a San Diego Jewish organization in their quest to recover a valuable painting by Camille Pissarro that was initially taken by the Nazis and now hangs in an art museum in Madrid.

A US appeals court ruled unanimously last year that the painting, which a Jewish woman traded to the Nazis to escape the Holocaust in 1939, may remain the property of a Spanish museum that acquired it more than a half-century later.

At stake is “La Rue St. Honoré, effet de Soleil, Après-Midi, 1898,” an oil-on-canvas work of a rain-swept Paris street that Pissarro painted as he gazed at the scene from his hotel window. Its value has been estimated at $30 million.

The high court has been on its summer break since early July. When it begins its new term on Monday, the justices will be hearing arguments in their marble courtroom for the first time in more than a year and a half, though the public will not be allowed to attend.

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