Page 64 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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to this property absent consent of the remaining members o f the Board o f Di­
rectors, pursuant to the Hochschule’s internal regulations. It is the Attorney
General’s position that the collection was entrusted to Dr. Guttmann for safe­
keeping with the intent that it eventually be made available to the Jewish peo­
ple in a safe place such as London.
In dealing with the legal framework, Justice White remarked:
W ith respect to those disputed issues of fa c t . . . the Attorney General has
made a preliminary showing that he is likely to prevail . . . . The Court notes
that Dr. Guttmann has waited for over forty years to sell the collection and
sought anonymity in so doing. There is every indication that rather than share
these master works with other scholars upon his arrival in this country, he ac­
tively concealed their existence. These actions are not consistent with a firmly
held belief in his rightful tit le .. . . [Further,] if Dr. Veit Simon did not have the
power to transfer title, and no surrounding circumstances are developed at trial
which would excuse strict compliance with any formalities, Dr. Guttmann and
Sotheby’s will not prevail, even if the trier of fact gives Dr. Guttmann’s story
full credence.
TRIAL ORDERED
In ending the first phase of the legal contest with an Order dated
September 17, the judge ordered Sotheby’s to retain the proceeds
of the sale and any books or manuscripts that had not been turned
over to purchasers and instructed Plaintiff and Defendants to pre­
pare for a trial.
August 15 was when Justice White issued his opinion (the Order
was September 17), when Guttmann’s attorney apparently sup­
plied information to the press, and when the telephones at HUC
rang off the hook. Dr. Guttmann was a professor emeritus at
HUC, and
he
apparently couldn’t be reached by telephone; it was
natural for the press to call the College. Since HUC as an institu­
tion was not involved beyond its decision against bidding in the
sale, it tried with some success at first to treat queries as Library
reference questions—questions of fact that might be answered
from readily available information sources.
But HUC was quite involuntarily moved into the controversy
because of various opinions and facts which surfaced. A disconcert-