Of interest to people, besides the fact that I'm a lawyer at Burris, Schoenberg & Walden, LLP (http://bslaw.net), and I'm President at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (http://www.lamoth.org), is that I teach art law at University of Southern California Law School, and I'm also the grandson of 2 famous composers - one is Arnold Schoenberg, and the other is Erich Zeisl.

I was a math major at Princeton before taking up law. I've been working on my genealogy for 40 years (even though I'm only 48) and I do all my work on a platform called geni.com - I'm a volunteer curator there.

Here is the Geni profile for Maria Altmann.

I'm also a husband and a dad to 3 kids.

And my story is told (with Ryan Reynolds playing me) in the new film WOMAN IN GOLD, in theaters now. There's also a book, called LADY IN GOLD, about the story of me assisting Maria Altmann in getting back her family's artworks that were worth over $300 million dollars that were looted in World War II by the Nazis in Austria, most notably Gustav Klimt's ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.'

Here's my blog about the premiere in Berlin.

You can learn more about Maria's story here.

Go ahead and ask me your questions. Victoria's helping me get started.

Proof: http://imgur.com/MYRKBdx

Comments: 94 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

runningraleigh13 karma

Hi Randy, thanks for making time to talk with us!

There have been a lot of stories about Nazi loot over the years, some more historical than others. The most interesting stories to me have been of Nazi's smuggling treasure to asia and other parts of the world. How much loot do you think made it out of the European theater and how much of that loot is still out there?

RandySchoenberg11 karma


There was so much death & devastation in WWII that really the number of lost or missing items is countless. And I think it was understandable that after the war, survivors had larger concerns than tracking down lost possessions and paintings. So many people were killed. The survivors had their lives destroyed, and needed to rebuild them. So 70 years later, valuable paintings are still missing, and this is one of the few areas where we can actually right some of the wrongs from WWII.

I have no doubt that there are many looted paintings in the United States, and Asia, and elsewhere. It's just a matter of trying to find them.

To give you one example, Maria's brother-in-law, Bernard Altmann, had his entire collection confiscated, including four paintings by the Venetian artist Canaletto.

Only one has been located so far.

gerritvb10 karma

First, forgive my ignorance (I haven't seen the film).

  • When did you recover the art?
  • Was the recovery mostly a legal battle, or mostly a practical one?
  • To the extent it was a legal battle, what law (whose law?!) applied in the effort to recover the art? Were there interesting legal theories, matters of first impression, etc.?

I'm a lawyer, too, for what it's worth. But I don't know anything about art law beyond copyright basics!

RandySchoenberg12 karma

In 2006, after 8 years of litigation, the Austrians returned the 5 paintings.

It was 100% a legal battle. 3 Austrian arbitrators ruled in our favor, and directed that they return the paintings under Austrian law.

So the main legal issue in the case had to do with Adele Bloch-Bauer's will, and how to interpret her request that her husband donate the paintings to the Austrian Gallery after his death.

They were stolen (by the Nazis) before he died.

But the way we won the case was that we ended up filing a lawsuit in the United States against the Republic of Austria, and that case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue there was whether it was permissible to sue a foreign sovereign.

We relied on the FSIA of 1976. Austria argued that it was impermissibly retroactive to apply that law to a case that arose in the 1930's and 40's. But the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that we were allowed to proceed.

orangejulius6 karma

I know very little about this. What was the most difficult part of the work you did? What was the most frustrating moment for you?

RandySchoenberg11 karma

For me, the most difficult parts were the delays.

At every stage, Austria called and demanded more time, refused to answer, and the hardest thing for me was not being able to sit down and speak to them and resolve it in a timely manner.

The case took 8 years, and in that time, Maria went from age 82 to 90 years.

And for me, that was the most difficult and frustrating part.

It was just endless frustrations, throughout the case!

The Supreme Court scene was very accurate. I was not experienced in arguing in front of the Supreme Court - I'd never done it before - but Maria was approached by other lawyers that wanted to argue the case, but she stuck with me. And I had prepared by doing 3 practice sessions - that are called "moot courts," it's like a practice session where judges or lawyers pretend to be Supreme Court Justices and ask you questions - so I thought I'd heard every possible question.

But then, when it came time for me to speak, and I started my presentation, after the first sentence, I was interrupted by Justice Souter, who asked me a long and convoluted question.

I had absolutely no idea what he was asking.

Unfortunately, this is on tape so you can actually LISTEN to it...


But anyway, I didn't understand the question, and I just had to say - "I'm sorry, but I didn't understand the question."

And all the other Justices smiled, as if to say, We didn't understand it either, thank GOD you asked.

And so it was actually the perfect icebreaker.

courtiebabe4206 karma

We didn't understand it either, thank GOD you asked.

So you realized Supreme Court Justices have souls, too? What was THAT like?

In all seriousness - what made you decide on becoming a lawyer after being a math major? As a lawyer who doesn't do numbers, I find that transition to be very interesting!

RandySchoenberg7 karma

There are a number of mathematicians who are lawyers. And also a number of very great lawyers who studied math - Lawrence Tribe is a great example. I was pretty good at math. But not good enough to be a math professor (my younger brother Ricky is the chairman of the statistics department at UCLA so he's the one who was really good at math). My dad was a judge, and he said (correctly) that "lawyers are people who are pretty good at a lot of things, but not REALLY good at anything."

And that describes me very well. Hahaha!

busybrowsing6 karma

What are your thoughts about the art being destroyed by Isis in Iraq and Syria and is there anything we can do to stop it?

RandySchoenberg9 karma

It's a real tragedy.

My grandmother, who taught Latin, still complained about the loss of the library in Alexandria under Caesar 2000 years ago. And I'm sure that history will not look kindly on us for allowing it to happen.

What can be done?

Probably only military action can solve the problem. But if WWII has taught us anything, it is that sometimes you really do need to go to war to stop bad things from happening.

Spoonsy5 karma

Thanks for doing this. I had always been fascinated by this case - what was it like to have Ryan Reynolds play you?

RandySchoenberg9 karma

You know, I offered to meet with him early on, and we decided that it wasn't a good idea, and I sorta agree with that. Obviously to make a movie out of my story, they had to make a character, right? And it's not exactly me in the movie, they changed some things, and I think Ryan Reynolds needed to find his own way of playing that character. So I think meeting me early on would've confused things. But I know he did watch films, and study some of my mannerisms, things like that. And I finally did get to meet him on the last day of shooting, and I went - the scene in Beverly Hills on top of the rooftop, where he's chasing after Maria, and they finished filming that, and walked over to me, and he pointed over at me, and pointed at himself, and he said 'NAILED IT!' because I was wearing khakis and a blue shirt, and there he was, wearing the same thing I was dressed in!

He has a great sense of humor, he was really funny, and super-nice. He's a very serious actor too, which I really liked, and he worked very hard to make this a believable character, and I think that shows in the success of the film.

InvaderDem3 karma

This makes sense. I read that when he did the Amityville movie, he was deliberately distant so he wouldn't get an emotional attachment to the kids because his character became quite distant and dark.

RandySchoenberg3 karma

It makes sense to me too.

dragonfly19935 karma

were you scared of having tywin lannister as your boss?

RandySchoenberg8 karma


If you've ever worked in a law firm, you've worked for someone like Tywin Lannister. Or Charles Dance in the film.

My real boss was very nice. I didn't get to meet Charles Dance, so I don't know. My real boss actually, his wife's family was also from Vienna, they were refugees from Vienna, so he was very sympathetic.

prioritymail124 karma

Have you gotten any feedback from Holocaust survivors who have seen the film? I'm always very curious to hear their thoughts about how it is portrayed on screen. I imagine most, if not all, never had the chance at the type of justice that Maria got.

RandySchoenberg9 karma

I met a Holocaust survivor named Gerda Weissmann Klein, and she said she loved it, that it was just so accurate, and that she was so grateful that the movie was made. And I receive another comment last night from a 95 year old friend of mine who escaped from Austria, and he sent me this email:

Dear Randy,

I just came home from seeing The Woman in Gold and I am a Laberl , as we used to say in Vienna.

I was awakened at 2:00 AM by rifle butts banging on the doors of our apartment on the third floor above the family department store. I opened the door to 8 SA men, who had our lives in their hands. I watched them loot our wardrobes, cabinets, everywhere, pocketing cash and jewellery and stealing my father’s valuable stamp collection - three steamer trunks full - and taking him away to the Sammellager in the Karajangasse, then to Dachau and Buchenwald.

I saw the mob of hundreds, with raised fists, surrounding our department store. I heard the shouted threats before the smashing of our 48 display windows.

I watched the Aryanisation of our department store. only recently I learned Adolf Eichmann was in on it.

I saw my aunt Gretl on her knees, forced to scrub the sidewalk with acid, surrounded by a jeering crowd.

I walked the streets aimlessly. Several times, when I returned home, my mother told me “they” had been there again, looking for me. I am alive today because I happened, by chance, to avoid being killed. On the night of November 9, I walked, without reason, to the top of a hill and saw fires all over Vienna. I later learned all but one of the synagogues of Vienna were destroyed within two days and nights.

In Los Angeles, in the ‘90s, I had managed to paper over the memories with thin, unreliable forgetfulness. Then Austria organised the Wiedergutmachung, which I later openly called the Wiederschlechtmachung, headed by Hannah Lessing, promising retribution, and asking for detailed proof of losses. Writing down all of the outrages tore open old wounds. One example: our department store was “transferred” to a scavenger named Seidenglanz, who paid the equivalent of $25,000.00, The sense of injustice came rushing back.

The property where the department store had been since 1890 was sold last year to the Erste Bank for nearly 40 million EUROS. Our summer villa in Sauerbrunn, in Burgenland, bought in 1911, was confiscated in 1938. There was never any kind of compensation. My relatives - adults and children, were murdered. My father’s mother was killed in Treblinka in 1942. There were three suicides, including my mother.

The Woman in Gold powerfully showed some of this criminal period in Austria. And the Altmann case intruded into my life through Peter Moser, who regularly kept me abreast, through long-distance telephone calls, of his side of the story, the side maintained by the Austrian government. When the final arbitration decision was reached, Moser said it had been gekauft.

And now….

Thank you, thank you for everything you did in the Altmann case. That rare shock of breathtaking justice is a deep satisfaction to victims like me who are still around.

For your information:

I met the Altmanns in 1952, in their house on North Elm Drive, just when I began reviewing for the Los Angeles Times. The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, a poster size print, on the end wall of their large living room grabbed my attention. I asked about it and Maria told me the story. When I asked, “Why haven’t you gotten it back?” She answered with ein dreckiges Lachen.”

With my profound admiration and heartfelt thanks

Walter Arlen

eghty724 karma

Do you think Helen Mirren did a good job portraying Maria?

RandySchoenberg8 karma

She did a great job.

If you asked me to describe Maria, I would say she was elegant, and smart, and witty, and funny, and she liked to tell racy jokes every once in a while, and these are all characteristics that you would use to describe Helen Mirren.

So once she got the accent down, I think it was a perfect fit.

Basically, everybody who has seen the film is blown away by her performance.

She really did a great job embodying that Old World culture that Maria embodied. That was her whole being. And for me, that's what I remember about Maria - just this unbelievable charm and erudition, is the only word for it, that came so naturally!

She would quote from operas in a completely unaffected way the same that we would quote from a popular movie. It was just part of who she was. I loved how Helen portrayed her in the film.

She was taller than Helen Mirren though! A little bit taller than I was! So that was a little bit reversed in the film.

prioritymail124 karma

Randy, what do you hope people take away from this story after seeing the film?

RandySchoenberg7 karma

The director put it that in his mind that the film was about memory, about remembering.

And I think that's correct.

We all have family stories. And knowing about our history is really what makes us human, what makes us different from animals. If you could ask a dog "What did your grandfather do?" and you wouldn't get an answer - because animals don't have a sense of history and culture, and humans do.

So that's really what this story is about - understanding Maria's history, and my own history, and how that happens from one generation to the next.

GISP4 karma

How true is the film to what actualy took place?
I imagine it being "hollywoodenised", yes?

RandySchoenberg4 karma

The film is amazingly accurate. Of course, everything has to be somewhat different in a film, but there is a core of truth in every scene. For example, after the Supreme Court scene a reporter comes up and tells me I am going to lose. That feels Hollywood, but it really happened. Here's the article. http://www.bslaw.net/news/040226.html There are some parts that are exaggerated. For example, they have my wife Pam (played by Katie Holmes) going into labor as I am getting ready to fly to Washington DC to argue the case. No, that didn't happen. But the truth is that Pam called me from the hospital when I was in DC and told me that she had started contractions with pre-term labor (at 27 weeks!). They got it under control and the baby went full term, but that was plenty dramatic for us. I told the screenwriter that story and they made it into the scene in the film. There's a scene where my character breaks down and cries at the Vienna Holocaust Memorial. That's also based on the truth. I was there at the unveiling and was overcome with emotion and started to cry. So, that should give you an idea. There are so many details like that in the film.

courtiebabe4204 karma

Hi Randy,

How's it feel to have your story told as a major feature film? Do you think Ryan Reynolds did a good job portraying you and your story?

RandySchoenberg4 karma

Yes, I think Ryan did a great job. For Maria and me, really a large part of doing it was to tell the story to people, and so I'm super-happy that now everybody gets to see it on the big screen. For me, what I really like is having so many of the things that ACTUALLY happened recorded in the film. I know a lot of the film looks like it must've been made up, but actually so much of it is true! I don't think that people would quite believe it.

Frajer4 karma

did your Jewish heritage make you more interested in Maria's story ?

RandySchoenberg8 karma

Maria and my grandmother were best friends. And all 4 of my grandparents were from Vienna, and fled the Nazis. So that's really what brought me into this, Maria's story, because I knew her already. Obviously, my Jewish background has always been very important to me. And for Maria and her family, fighting for them at times felt like fighting for my own family.

hsvarsenal4 karma

Did you ever encounter Anti semitism from your 'opponents' when you were working on the case?

RandySchoenberg5 karma

That's a good question.

Not directly.

But I often had the feeling that it was lurking in the background. And it's different than the standard anti-Semitism. It's an unwillingness to empathize and put yourself in the other person's position. Which ends up perpetuating the old anti-Semitic stereotypes and injuries of the past. And that I felt constantly.

katrinald4 karma

My mom and I can't wait to see this film. 'The Woman in Gold' is one of my favorite paintings, I am Jewish and we're both huge Helen Mirren fans. Have you seen the movie? How accurate is it compared to the real story?

RandySchoenberg3 karma

The film obviously had to change some things, but in most parts, it's incredibly accurate. The scene where Maria and her husband Fritz are escaping was probably even more harrowing than it is portrayed by Tatiana Maslany and Max Irons in the film, and that's certainly plenty scary! It's not in the movie, but Fritz Altmann (Maria's husband) was actually sent to Dachau for 2 months in the summer of 1938, and ransomed out by his older brother. They tried to escape 3 times before finally being successful.

The flashback scenes that show what happens in the Anschluss, when Germany annexed Austria, are not only accurate, but they are virtual reproductions of famous film footage and photographs from that time.

And I mentioned earlier that the Supreme Court scenes were 100% accurate, haha!

Everybody who has seen it seems to love the movie, so I'm sure you will enjoy it.

JamalHNguyen3 karma

Hey Randy, What has it been like for you doing all this press and having to talk about a case that has been over for so long?

RandySchoenberg4 karma


It's been crazy. I've had to sort of relive everything from that time, again. But I have spoken about the case quite a bit, since it's finished, and so it hasn't been too hard.

I had never been involved with any movie, even though I'm from Los Angeles. And so the way the "PR machine" works, like setting up this reddit interview, is really education for me, haha, I must say! And so it's been fun to see how that works. Telling my story for 5, or 10, or 15 minutes is not too difficult.

luuu_ke2 karma

Have you worked on similar cases to the one portrayed in the film? If so, what have the outcomes been in those cases?

RandySchoenberg3 karma

Yes. My other big success was in a case concerning a Picasso painting, that had been looted from France.

That case took a long time also. It went up to the California Supreme Court and two federal actions before it finally settled.

But I've also been unsuccessful in other cases - or at least not YET successful! Hehe!


RedditWatching2 karma

You are still a young man. What plans do you have for the future?

RandySchoenberg3 karma

Oooh, good question.

I'm feeling older all the time, haha! But I would like to write a book about the whole experience.

I'm enjoying spending more time on things aside from legal work.

I've been very busy with Los Angeles Museum of The Holocaust. A couple years ago, I served as the acting executive director while we looked for a new director, that was very challenging.

And in terms of the future, I do a lot of Jewish genealogy. I'm looking forward to going to - there's an annual Jewish genealogy conference that's being held in Jerusalem in July, so I'm really looking forward to going to that, and I'm giving a speech about privacy, and online family trees.

So I've been looking forward to writing that and researching that.

RedditWatching2 karma

Thanks. I hope this isn't too personal a question, but how do you think your success has affected your family?

RandySchoenberg5 karma

We've tried not to let it change us too much. I have to say that when you do have this type of unexpected financial success, it definitely reduces the burden on the breadwinner of the family. It's an amazing feeling to know that i can pay for my kids' education, for example. But we still live in the same house. But I don't think we've changed for the worse. Our kids have grown up with this. Our oldest is 17. And I hope the film won't embarrass them too much!

But so far, everybody's handling it pretty well. One issue is that they had to combine our two boys into one, in the film, and I joked with the director and asked him who was going to pay for the therapy for the boy that's left out of the movie!

So what they did was they took the birth of our youngest son Joey, and they gave him our oldest son's Nathan's name, so it's a combination of the two.

So I hope that doesn't cause them too much anxiety later on in life. Haha!

Brewers28282 karma

Were you involved with the holocaust museum before the case? Has that work been really rewarding to be involved with?

RandySchoenberg3 karma

Yes, I had been involved off & on since 1996. And in 2005, before the case was finished, I was asked to be president of the museum. It is the oldest Holocaust Museum collection in the country. So that was a big honor for me. After I won the case, I was in a position to help complete their building project for a new museum building. And I became very involved in the design of the new permanent exhibit in the museum.

That has been some of the most rewarding work I've ever done.

Our attendance is up to 40,000 a year. And to think that I've had a role in educating so many people about the Holocaust, given my own family background, is just a tremendous feeling for me.

FadingShadowz2 karma

Hi There,

My fiancee and I got to go see the film at the Angelika recently and really enjoyed it! Can you describe for us what moment really caused you to pursue the case, not as a side hobby, but as a passion project? The movie is a little vague in this (showing internal conflict is never easy) and I'd like to know where your head was at when this happened.

Thanks for doing this AMA!

RandySchoenberg3 karma

The movie makes me a bit more uninterested than I really was. Maria was such a close friend of my family that it was just natural that I tried to help her. And the case was so interesting. I'd say it became a passion project almost immediately.

luuu_ke2 karma

Have you met Harvey Weinstein? Was he supportive of the project? Seems like they've done a great job on the rollout of this one, unlike some of their past projects...

RandySchoenberg2 karma

Yes. I met him at the premier in Berlin. He was very nice, and I think his heart is really in this film.

bittlesworth2 karma

Has the big firm you left to pursue this case ever called you to tell you what a huge mistake they made letting you do this on your own?

RandySchoenberg2 karma


I've remained friends with my old boss. The firm actually shut down its Los Angeles office in 2005, one year before I won the case, but i have not heard from the lawyers who run the firm in New York, haha! Really, this was not the type of case that a big firm would ordinarily take. They weren't in the business of suing foreign countries in a long shot case.

steveo7572 karma

Hello Randy!

This is an incredibly interesting story and I am very interested in doing further research into Maria's story and other stories similar to this. I also look forward to seeing the movie!

My question for you is after your work with Maria and now that the movie is out, have other people approached you with similar situations of stolen artwork/property?

RandySchoenberg3 karma

Yes. But not every case is like Maria's case! Really, the facts of each case are unique, and sometimes I'm able to help, and do help people, and then other times, it's not anything that I can help them with - either because it concerns a part of Europe that I am not as familiar with, or where the laws are not favorable, or the facts of the case make it too difficult.

alex_squeezebox2 karma

Wow that's fascinating how you're also related to Arnold Schoenberg. He was a pretty controversial composer! Do you also partake in classical music? Do you like your grandfather's music??

RandySchoenberg2 karma

I love the music of both of my grandfathers. My grandfather Arnold Schoenberg is considered the father of modern music. I started listening to his music when I was pretty young and that allowed me to listen to pretty much any music with an "open ear," meaning that I am not too prejudiced before I hear something. I do tend to favor complexity over simplicity. I play violin pretty badly, but enjoy it. Same for my tennis.

nekosej2 karma

You are, however, somewhat of a master at table tennis!

RandySchoenberg2 karma

Haha! Yes, I love table tennis. That and skiing.

AnomicAphasia2 karma

Hi Randy,

There are numerous reports of Nazis still alive and at large (and presumably living off pilfered loot).

I am thinking specifically of this Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/09/16/why-we-could-be-hunting-nazis-until-the-2040s/

Would you agree with the article's findings and, if so, where do you think the current old-Nazi hotspots to be?


RandySchoenberg2 karma

I'm not sure we'll be seeing prosecutions of Nazis over 100 years old, so I don't think the conclusions of the article are correct. But it is true that we are still living with people who witnessed and survived the Holocaust, so the same will be true for the perpetrators. People often say that the survivors are dying off and won't be here forever, which is true, but remember also that the survivors were the indestructible ones, the people who did not get typhus or succumb to starvation and disease in the camps, so they also may be people whose constitutions allow them to live longer. We probably do have about 25 years or so, about one generation, until the witnesses are gone. In the meantime, institutions like our museum provide opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet the witnesses and hear from them firsthand.

AnomicAphasia2 karma

I suppose at the root of my question is a generational issue: I think you're right, we're unlikely to see 100 year old Nazis in court. But is there any evidence about 'generational profiteering'? The descendants of those 'first gen' Nazis who are living off profits or benefits of war crimes?

RandySchoenberg3 karma

The Gurlitt case is an example. The son was living off (and hoarding) the artworks obtained by his father during the war. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildebrand_Gurlitt

AnomicAphasia3 karma

and then there's the whole chain of (Swiss/European) dealers who knew/know damn well where this stuff comes from.

RandySchoenberg1 karma


HillaryComstock2122 karma

Hi Randy!! Thanks for doing this! What is your favorite scene in WOMAN IN GOLD? I loved the film!!

RandySchoenberg3 karma

My favorite scene is in the District Court, where the judge (who is played by Elizabeth McGovern, of DOWNTON ABBEY fame - she's also the director's wife) first ruled in our favor. And the Austrian lawyer gets very upset. That's just how i remember it :)

iamelphaba2 karma

What made you decide to go from mathematics to law? I also majored in math and am considering a career shift. How did people react when you changed your course?

RandySchoenberg2 karma

I wasn't quite good enough to continue in math. My little brother is the good one. He's the chairman of the statistics dept at UCLA. I always did non-math things, like debate and newspaper. At Princeton I was News Editor of the Nassau Weekly and also received a certificate in European Cultural Studies. So I kept my options open. My father was a judge, so law was always something I felt might be a good fit for me.

jewishjeff2 karma

Wow! I can't believe the amount of TIL material in a a single AMA. Full disclosure: this is the first i've ever heard of anything that you've done (a reason I enjoy being on reddit, it opens me up to so many new things!) but I was prompted to write because Arnold Schoenberg is one of my favorite composers. Does his monumental influence on modern classical music ever passively cross your mind like "oh yeah, my grandad did that"? On that vein, I find it funny that you teach at USC, did you also get your degrees from there? Also how did you get into art law?

RandySchoenberg1 karma

I studied law at USC. My grandfather taught there briefly also, before teaching at UCLA. I love my grandfather's music. It is a great privilege to have him as a role model. I have learned a lot, I think, from reading his letters and essays, and listening to his music. His paintings are also great.
I got into art law because my grandmother's friend, Maria Altmann, called me and asked me to help her recover her paintings.

Arpikarhu1 karma

how do you feel about the way they changed the true story? the movie plays it as if Maria wanted the painting for sentimental reasons when in truth she turned around and sold it for the cash rather quickly. Not that there is anything wrong with it, it was hers.

RandySchoenberg1 karma

Maria was not the only heir. There were several others. And collectively they decided what to do with this inheritance. What would you have do if you inherited a super-valuable painting? Would you feel safe with it in your home?

Trying2BaWiseGuy1 karma

Why aren't you as hawt as Ryan Reynolds? :( I'm disappointed.

RandySchoenberg2 karma

Sad, isn't it?

squeakpixie1 karma

Thank you so much for what you did, not only for Mrs. Altmann, but for those who suffered injustice under the Nazi regime. I would love to hear a lecture or see an exhibit on the art stolen and recovered from the third Reich. Any chance of a temporary exhibit at the Holocaust museum in DC, or a lecture circuit at colleges and maybe synagogues?

RandySchoenberg1 karma

The portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I is on permanent display at the Neue Galerie in New York. See http://www.neuegalerie.org/content/gustav-klimt-and-adele-bloch-bauer-woman-gold The second portrait of Adele is on loan to MOMA in NY. No lecture tour for me. I have 3 kids and plenty to do at home.

DimlightHero1 karma

It is very clear that you are very adept at navigating the legal system. But personally I am more interested in the ethical question underlying art and the benefits in public ownership versus private ownership.

Is that something you are comfortable talking about? If so I'd be happy to hear your opinion.

RandySchoenberg1 karma

I think I understand what you are asking, but how would you like it if we let the police came into your home to steal your things, denied you any chance of recovering them for 65 years, and then wanted to start a discussion about whether it wouldn't just be better to allow your things to remain stolen? Is it really different if the property stolen is a painting?

CaptainLipto1 karma

Hi Randy, thanks for doing this.

Do you see any parallels between you're experiences returning stolen art to the original owner, and today's work by film studios attempting to claim compensation from online piracy users? Do you believe they are similar cases with regard to stolen intellectual and physical property?

RandySchoenberg1 karma

I suppose there is some similarity. Theft is theft. With intellectual property, you don't necessarily deprive others of enjoyment of the property when you pirate a copy. So that's a difference.