Mary Mac and Simon Wiesenthal Center spar over Nazi claims


During a visit on Monday to the Hunt Museum in Limerick, President Mary MacAleese criticised claims made by the Simon Wiesenthal Center concerning the provenance of the collection, and the description of the late Hunts as “notorious dealers in art looted by the Nazis”. Today the Irish Times reported on the SWC’s response to the president:

President Mary McAleese has been criticised by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC) for censuring it over allegations it made about the Hunt Museum. The centre said it would be publishing a report in five or six weeks’ time which would vindicate its stance on the issue.

The centre’s European director, Dr Shimon Samuels, said he was “quite shocked” at Mrs McAleese’s remarks, which were uncalled for and were “not very presidential and were very unstatesmanlike”.


Mrs McAleese said the allegations were “baseless . . . unfounded . . . a tissue of lies” and had hurt many people.

Last October, an independent report by Lynn Nicholas, a world authority on Nazi looted art, found that “the presently available information and research provides no proof whatsoever that the Hunts were Nazis, that they were involved in any kind of espionage, or that they were traffickers in looted art”. (more…)

UPDATE: Fintan O’Toole gives the President an earful on the issue in Saturday’s Irish Times