A Victory for Holocaust Victims and Their Families

Egon Schiele’s Woman in a Black Pinafore

Challenge

In 2005 the Grunbaum estate – heirs to Fritz Grunbaum, a famous Viennese cabaret performer and Holocaust victim – hired Attorney Raymond Dowd to reclaim Nazi-looted artworks that belonged to Grunbaum when the Nazis deported him to the Dachau Concentration Camp. Grunbaum’s collection included eighty-one artworks by Egon Schiele. Following a dramatic 2015 seizure of two Schieles at the Park Avenue Armory, Dowd’s firm, Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP, hired Sheinkopf Communications to help secure justice for the heirs and bring Fritz Grunbaum’s story into the public spotlight.

Approach

Working closely with Dowd, Sheinkopf used its media relations to garner attention in several media outlets. Sheinkopf developed a clear and engaging narrative to utilize earned media, develop public awareness, and highlight the social and institutional importance of the case. The Sheinkopf team also creatively targeted powerful extended coverage in niche publications to support and amplify Dowd’s public speaking efforts on Holocaust-related art restitution.

Result

On April 5, 2018, Judge Charles D. Ramos ruled in favor of Grunbaum’s heirs, in one of the first cases to successfully utilize the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act of 2016, Dowd’s triumph in court, bolstered by our original messaging strategies, made international headlines, with coverage in The New York Times, CNN, BBC, and other outlets. Sheinkopf Communications has created the groundwork for a sustained and ongoing conversation to recover the additional missing Schieles in recovery efforts that may potentially last for decades to come. The case’s earned media brought public awareness to Nazi-looted art investigations, and the favorable ruling will encourage museums and private collectors to returned looted artworks and inspire other families to reclaim their cultural heritage.