Monday, 27 September 2010

Bavarian Authorities Hoarding Stolen Antiquities?

I was looking here the other day at the effects of Bavaria's no-paperwork-needed legislation for the antiquity trade after the coineys persuaded Bavarian Minister Zeile to intervene with the US Government to attempt to persuade it not to require paperwork from Bavarian dealers. Today the breaking news is that Bavaria has just been successfully sued by the Republic of Cyprus, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of the Maronites and the Church of the Armenians to retrieve stolen antiquities, which had been in the custody of the Bavarian authorities since 1997. They had filed a civil law suit before Munich District Court in 2004 to retrieve the objects which had been stolen from Cyprus’ northern Turkish occupied part of the country.
The antiquities had been found in 1997 by the Bavarian police, hidden in between walls and under the floor of two flats which belong to a Turkish national, Aydin Dickmen, in Munich. Part of the findings include religious icons, part of mosaics and pieces of Byzantine frescoes of priceless historic, cultural and religious value. Since these were located, the government and the Church of Cyprus had made several moves to have these artifacts repatriated. The moves did not yield any results and it was decided to file a civil law suit before the German courts. On Thursday, 23 September, Munich District Court issued its decision on the law suit against Dickmen which vindicated fully the Church of Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus.
See also: Elena Theofanous, 'German court orders return of stolen icons, just days before 30-year deadline expires', Cyprus Mail 27/9/10.
and Demetra Molyva,How the Cyprus Weekly Helped Church Recover Religious Work of Art, MSN February 14, 2009.


David Gill said...

For more on this story see Looting Matters.

Paul Barford said...

Thanks David. So this would seem to be analogous to 'paperless' imports of dugup ("surfaced") Greek coins, the Bavarians ignore the problem, while the US wants to tackle it.

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