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Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

The Kohinoor Diamond

Quoting from Wikipedia:

“The Kōh-i Nūr  which means “Mountain of Light” in Persian, also spelled Koh-i-noor, Koh-e Noor or Koh-i-Nur, is a 105 carat (21.6 g) diamond (in its most recent cut) that was once the largest known diamond in the world.

The Kōh-i Nūr originated in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India along with its double, the Darya-ye Noor (the “Sea of Light”).

It has belonged to various Hindu, Persian, Rajput, Mughal, Turkic, Afghan, Sikh and British rulers who fought bitterly over it at various points in history and seized it as a spoil of war time and time again.

It was most recently seized by the East India Company and became part of the British Crown Jewels when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877.”

Today a news item  on the BBC caught my eye as a parallel.

Quoting from BBC.com

“Berlin museum must return Nazi-looted art

A German court on Friday ordered a leading Berlin museum to return to a Jewish family in the United States a valuable collection of posters stolen in 1938 by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

The collection of some 4,300 posters, valued at around 4.4 million euros ($5.7 million), was taken by the Nazi propaganda ministry from Jewish dentist Hans Sachs, the top poster collector in Germany from the early 20th century.

Later that year, Sachs was sent to a concentration camp but released a few weeks later, and fled with his family first to London, then to New York. He died in 1974.

In 1961, he received a sum of 225,000 deutschmarks — more than half a million euros in today’s money — in compensation from West Germany

The collection survived the war and languished in the cellar of the German Historical Museum, at the time behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin.

The Federal Court of Justice, based in the western city of Karlsruhe, ruled that the Sachs family “was the owner of the poster collection and can demand it back” from the museum, ending a tug-of-war that had lasted for years.

Not to return the art “would perpetuate Nazi injustice,” the court said in a written statement.

The museum said it would accept the judgement and would “shortly” begin talks with the family to decide how to proceed.

Matthias Druba, a lawyer representing the Sachs family, said his client hoped to find another museum in Germany that would display the posters as works of art, not as historical artifacts.

“Ideally this would be in Berlin, because the Sachs family originally came from Berlin,” Druba told AFP, adding that they had held back from the search for a new home until the ruling had been handed down.

Hans Sachs’s son Peter, who had brought the claim against the museum, is a retired airline pilot and as such “doesn’t have the means simply to build a museum,” Druba said.

“In any case, this was never about the money, but about restoring the family’s history,” he said.”

BBC Link

Parallel situation?  Is it time to begin hoping that the fairness shown by German courts spreads to the rest of the world?

jm

March 2011

One comment on “The Kohinoor Diamond

  1. Pingback: Stolen Splendors of Indian Maharajas « Murali

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2012 by in Thought Kaleidoscope and tagged , , , , , .

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