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Heidi Horten’s Jewels No Longer Up for Auction at Christie’s

The Christie’s auction house has canceled its planned November sale of the second portion of the jewelry of Heidi Horten, whose collection has been tied to wealth seized from Jews during the Holocaust.

The first sale netted $202 million, according to the auctioneers.

The Austrian-born Horten, who died in 2022, was the widow of German department store magnate Helmut Horten, who began amassing his eventual billion-dollar fortune by acquiring formerly Jewish-owned businesses seized by Nazi authorities in Germany during the process of “Aryanization.”

“Christie’s has taken the decision not to proceed with further sales of property from the Estate of Heidi Horten,” the auction house said in a statement Friday to French wire agency Agence France-Presse. “The sale of the Heidi Horten jewelry collection has provoked intense scrutiny.”

Holocaust survivors approve the move.

“We are glad that they recognized the great pain additional sales of Horten art and jewelry would cause Holocaust survivors,” survivor David Schaecter, president of Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation USA, told The New York Times.

The controversy surrounding the first sale of jewelry led Christie’s to add disclaimers to the listing for the second sale, which is still up on their website.

The disclaimers explain that “Mr. Horten, her first husband, passed away in 1987, leaving a significant inheritance to Mrs. Horten … The business practices of Mr. Horten during the Nazi era, when he purchased Jewish businesses sold under duress, are well documented.”

Christie’s also pledged to donate part of its commission on the sales to Holocaust research and education.

The public reaction to the first Horten sale also led the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel to cancel a joint event with Christie’s regarding art stolen by the Nazis.

The Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem also declined a donation from Christie’s due to the ultimate source of the money, according to the Jerusalem Post.

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