German Reichsminister Hermann Göring wanted to give Hitler a painting by Rembrandt for his birthday. It was owned by the Dutch artdealers Benjamin and Nathan Katz. In exchange twenty-five Jewish relatives were allowed to leave the occupied Netherlands. One of them, David Cohen, was ten years old when he left the country with his family in September 1942. David, now in his eightees, decided, out of gratitude to his saviors, for the first time ever to give a written testimony.
His journey by train to Paris and from there to the Spanish border was orchestrated by the highest nazi officials. The painting was handed over in Switzerland by Nathan Katz when his family crossed the border. From Spain they fled by boat to the Caribean till the war was over.
David Cohen told his story to historian Robert Lemm. He evokes in One Rembrandt for Twenty-Five Jews also the cultural shock after returning to Holland and his family’s cold reception by the Dutch.
The painting by Rembrandt is a portrait of Dirck Pesser, a Rotterdam beer-brewer, and is now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.</p.