The Yad Vashem Museum rejected a donation offered by Christie's Auction House because the money came from the sale of jewelry bought with money stolen from Jews in the Holocaust under Nazi Germany.
Yad Vashem initially confirmed the details to “Israel Hayom” and said that the refusal is regarding the specific sale. Other reports suggest that Christie’s eagerly sought another Jewish organization that would accept the donation, but failed to find one.
Yad Vashem rejects Christie's donation after it sold #Nazi jewelry— CHAUDHRY IMRAN ™💎 (@chimran55) May 22, 2023
Christie’s, the prestigious #British auction house, has offered to donate large sums of money to #Jewish and #Israeli organizations that focus on the Holocaust, after drawing criticism because of selling jewelry… pic.twitter.com/p2PxvIztHE
These reports come after a few weeks ago there was an uproar after it became clear that Christie's Auction House in New York is expected to hold an auction of jewelry and gems bought with the money of a businessman who became rich as a result of the forced purchase of Jewish companies before and during the Holocaust. Despite the protest of Jewish organizations in Israel and around the world, the sale took place as a series of several bidding events.
At the auction house, they were well aware of the origin of the jewelry, which was purchased at disgracefully unfair prices. According to them, the purpose of the sale is to help a philanthropic organization founded by the businessman's wife, who passed away last year. After criticism was hurled at them, they stated that they intend to donate part of the profits to organizations that deal with the commemoration of the Holocaust, but as it turns out, Jewish organizations are not interested in what could easily be defined as “blood money”.
So, Christie's sold a record $202M in jewelry purchased with ill gotten gains from the Holocaust, and then said to a handful of Jewish orgs "here's $100K to stop pointing out we're Holocaust profiteers."— Joshua Stein, philosophy, ethics, politics (@thephilosotroll) May 21, 2023
Good on Yad Vashem for declining, but it puts those orgs in a rough spot. https://t.co/IFC8qvJcB8
The jewelry, about 700 in number, belonged to Heidi Horten, who inherited billions from her husband Helmut, a German billionaire who was 30 years her senior. As mentioned, Horten made his fortune in a controversial way. Before the holocaust, Jews were forced to sell their businesses to the Germans under the Nazi regime, and thus he purchased companies at a significantly lower price than their true value.
@ChristiesInc What would be better? At least half of the sale proceeds should go to Yad Vashem or the funds for Survivors. This is certainly not "clean" as far as auctions go. Nazi Cloud Hangs Over One of the Largest Jewelry Sales in History https://t.co/ts4w8F9FBK— Caroline Bai (@ruedesevres) April 28, 2023
It should be noted that the Auction House was well aware of the origin of the jewelry before deciding to begin their bidding process. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, CEO of Shurat HaDin, who worked tirelessly, yet unsuccessfully, to thwart the sale of the jewelry released a statement: "It is very shocking that a reputable sales institution like Christie's works to sell Jewish property and is involved in such a trade. These revenues are revenues from the economic crimes of the Nazis against the Jewish community in Europe."