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Tag: Germany

FBI Returns Jewish Family’s Painting That Was Looted by Nazis in 1933

“Winter” by American impressionist Gary Melchers, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

A painting stolen from a Jewish family by the Nazis in 1933 has been returned to its original owners thanks to the FBI. 

The painting “Winter” by American impressionist Gary Melchers was looted from the art collection of the Mosse family, prominent Jewish residents and philanthropists from Berlin. It was among more than 200 pieces of the family’s artwork stolen by the Nazis. 

The Moss family owned the newspaper, “Berliner Tageblatt,” which was critical of the Nazis. 

“We can never ease the horrors of Nazi Germany from history, but we can, and should, take every opportunity to deliver any justice we can including the return of property to rightful heirs,” Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon said in a statement.  “The Department of Justice will continue to do just that.”

“Winter” was returned to the family’s heirs Thursday during a repatriation ceremony at the FBI Field Office in Albany. 

The painting was eventually purchased by Bartlett Arkell, whose collection is now housed at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York. The FBI tracked down the painting in September 2019. Investigators said there’s no evidence that Arkell knew the painting was stolen when he purchased it.

“While it’s believed there were hundreds of thousands of pieces of art stolen by the Nazis, our office is immensely proud to help right even just one wrong done during this evil period of world history,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas F. Relford said. “We may have played a small role in a massive effort, but we will forever recognize the magnitude of this work and we’re truly honored to be able to return this painting to its rightful owners.”

Trump, Putin Met for Undisclosed, Private Discussion During G20 Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump secretly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a one-on-one discussion over dinner during the Group of 20 summit meeting earlier this month, the New York Times reports

The White House, which didn’t disclose the meeting until confronted by the secret discussion Tuesday, said there was nothing unusual about the meet-up.

Trump slammed media reports about the secret meeting as “sick,” saying the “Press knew!” about the dinner since world leaders and their spouses had been invited by Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Times wrote:

While the leaders-and-spouses dinner was on Mr. Trump’s public schedule, the news media was not allowed to witness any part of it, nor were reporters provided with an account of what transpired. Mr. Trump’s traveling press contingent did note, however, that his motorcade left the dinner four minutes after Mr. Putin’s did.

The dinner at which the private conversation took place stretched for more than three hours after a concert for the leaders and their spouses at the Elbphilharmonie, a concert hall on the banks of the Elbe River.

In the earlier, formal meeting, Mr. Trump said later, he asked the Russian president twice about his role in the American vote. Mr. Putin denied involvement, and the two men agreed to move beyond the dispute in the interest of finding common ground on other matters, including a limited cease-fire in Syria.

There is no official United States government record of the intimate dinner conversation, because no American official other than the president was involved.

Records: CIA Imprisoned, Interrogated Man Knowing He Was Innocent

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CIA headquarters

CIA headquarters

New records reveal that the CIA imprisoned and interrogated a man that investigators knew was not a terrorist.

McClathy reports that the CIA realized it imprisoned the wrong man, a German citizen named Khaleed al-Masri, in Afghanistan.

Al-Mari was held in a secret prison with a “small cell with some clothing, bedding and a bucket for his waste,” according to a recently released internal CIA report.

McClathy wrote:

Adding to the sense of injustice: Even though the agency realized early on that al-Masri was the wrong man, it couldn’t figure out how to release him without having to acknowledge its mistake. The agency eventually dumped him unceremoniously in Albania and essentially pretended his arrest and detention had never happened.

FBI-Themed Stripper with Replica Assault Rifle Causes Alarm in Germany

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A male stripper caused alarm in Frankfurt’s red-light district after he was spotted with what appeared to be an assault rifle and bullet-proof vest emblazoned with “FBI.”

“A significant number” of police were called to the area Saturday night, NBC News reports.

Turns out, the 30-year-old Hungarian man was table-dancing and wearing a costume.

The gun was a plastic replica “but had deceiving similarities to a G36 assault rifle,” police said.

The stripper was allowed to perform after a delay.

“Prosecutors in Frankfurt now have to evaluate whether the possession of the rifle replica violates German gun laws,” Frankfurt police spokesman André Sturmeit told NBC News.

Former German Spy Convicted of Providing Classified Info to CIA, Russia

spy graphicBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former German spy who provided classified information to the CIA and the Russians was sentenced to eight years in prison for violating the country’s official secrets law.

Markus R., whose last name has not been made public, was convicted by a Munich state court, the Associated Press reports.

He was accused of selling roughly 20 highly classified documents to the CIA for $91,000. Among the information he shared was a list of German agents working abroad.

The 32-year-old confessed at trial, saying he was bored and frustrated.

He also provided “highly important” documents to Russians before ending the contact.

Germany Accused of Spying on FBI, Arms Companies And European Countries

spy graphicBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, BND, is accused of spying on the FBI and U.S. arms companies, according to a German radio station.

The Associated Press reports on the radio station’s claims:

The station claimed that Germany’s BND also spied on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the World Health Organization, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and even a German diplomat who headed an EU observer mission to Georgia from 2008 to 2011.

It provided no source for its report, but the respected German weekly Der Spiegel also reported at the weekend that the BND targeted phone numbers and email addresses of officials in the United States, Britain, France, Switzerland, Greece, the Vatican and other European countries, as well as at international aid groups such as the Red Cross.

The BND is accused of using phone numbers and email addresses of officials in the U.S and a slew of European countries.

Germany strongly criticized the U.S. two years ago after reports surfaced that America was eavesdropping on the German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Anne Applebaum: What FBI Director James Comey Got Wrong about His Speech on the Holocaust

By Anne Applebaum
Washington Post

The Polish ambassador to Washington has protested, the Polish president has protested, the speaker of the Polish parliament (to whom I am married) has protested — and the U.S. ambassador to Warsaw has apologized profusely. Why? Because James Comey, the director of the FBI, in a speech that was reprinted in The Post arguing for more Holocaust education, demonstrated just how badly he needs it himself.

In two poorly worded sentences, he sounded to Polish readers as if he were repeating the World War II myth that most drives them crazy: Namely, that somehow, those who lived in occupied Eastern Europe shared full responsibility for a German policy. Comey put it like this:

“In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do.”

There are a number of problems with that pair of weak sentences, starting with the vast difference between Germany and the rest. During the war, Germany had a state policy of exterminating the Jews. This policy involved not “accomplices” but hundreds of bureaucrats, tens of thousands of soldiers, train schedules and plans. Germany also encouraged the creation of collaborationist governments in other countries – Vichy France, for example – some of which used their own police officers to send their Jewish citizens into the German death camps.

Germany also occupied Poland, but there was no Polish “Vichy.” During the war, there was no Polish state at all. Indeed, it was the absence of the Polish state that enabled the Germans to create a lawless, violent world, one in which anyone could be arbitrarily murdered, any Jew could be deported — and any Pole who helped a Jew could be shot instantly, along with his entire family. Many were. Millions of others died too – Polish intellectuals, priests and politicians were all Nazi targets.

In the course of the war, most of Poland’s infrastructure, industry and architecture were destroyed. In that atmosphere, many people were frightened by or indifferent to the fate of the Jews, and some murdered in order to avoid being murdered. But that doesn’t mean that “in their minds” they “didn’t do something evil.”

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

 

Nazi War Criminals Continued Collecting Social Security Benefits from U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

At least 38 suspected Nazi war criminals removed from the U.S. continued receiving their Social Security benefits as part of a strange deal struck with the Justice Department, the Seattle Times reports.

One of them is former Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger, who fled to Germany and still collects about $1,500 a month in Social Security payments

The Social Security payments were used by the Justice Department as leverage to convince the suspected war criminals to leave the U.S.

The loophole that made it possible for the suspects to receive Social Security benefits would have been closed in legislation that was opposed by the Office of Special Investigations, which went after Nazis.

An analysis by the Associated Press found that 28 suspected Nazi criminals received $1.5 million in Social Security benefits after being removed from the U.S.