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Old 06-02-2012, 08:41 AM   #1
WilliamBoyd8
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This story has everything - Treasure, Archaeology, Nazis, Museums, Lawyers

Family of Holocaust Survivor Ordered to Return Artifact

A Brooklyn court has ordered the family of a Holocaust survivor to return a 3,200-year-old artifact to a German museum.

The Assyrian artifact is a golden tablet about the size of a passport photo that was looted from the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin during World War II, according to court papers.

The tablet was discovered in 1913 by a group of German archeologists in Iraq, court papers read. It was placed in the Berlin museum in 1926, but when an inventory was conducted in 1939, the tablet was missing.

The looter has been pegged as Auschwitz survivor Riven Flamenbaum.

Flamenbaum left Auschwitz in 1945, when he was sent to a camp in Germany.

It was not clear how he obtained the tablet, but when he and his wife immigrated to the United States four years later, the tablet was one of his most prized possessions.

Dowd, who represented the museum and has served family members of Holocaust survivors in the past, said having the tablet returned to Germany is a "victory for the museums of the world".

"This a public treasure for scholars of the world", Dowd said. "Itís a rare artifact, and the world scholars deserve to study it. It doesnít belong in private hands".

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headline...turn-artifact/

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Old 06-02-2012, 08:52 AM   #2
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No OP commentary?
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:01 AM   #3
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Here's what the item looks like, it is pretty small:



I do wonder if Riven Flamenbaum worked for the museum in the 1930's, was ordered to leave by the Nazis, and took the tablet as revenge.

Also, if the German museum gets it back, will the government of Iraq ask for it?

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Old 06-02-2012, 11:47 AM   #4
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That's quite some news, turning the usual story ("European museums full of looted stuff") on its head.

As for your point of Iraq asking the object to be returned...

If it was excavated in 1913, then the area now known as Iraq was integral part of the Ottoman Empire (strongly allied with Germany in politics, economics, the arts etc.), and the German team and the Ottoman officials would have proceeded with partage on everything found, i.e. the then standard practice of divvying up all objects found between the excavating archaeologists, their financing patrons and the (Ottoman) host territory.

I have to say the object in question is gourgeous! It will be quite something when it is on show again in Berlin...
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:53 AM   #5
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Can anyone here read Assyrian?

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Old 06-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamBoyd8
Can anyone here read Assyrian?


A little. All I can make out is that the first line of cuneiform inscriptions roughly translates to "There once was a man from Nantucket". It appears to be some sort of royal party favor.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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Internet searches can bring up lots of news stories on this item.

Apparently the item was a "construction document" for a temple in Assyria.

Some articles state that Riven Flamenbaum was a "coin collector".

As always, top men are working on it.

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Old 06-04-2012, 11:36 AM   #8
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Fascinating! And coin collectors are of course always top men.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:39 AM   #9
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From one of the many news articles about this case:

"He ran into a Russian general who made the artifact-for-cigarettes trade".

That Russian general's name wouldn't be Kemidov, by any chance?

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