Shalom Life | August 28, 2015

Restitution

A family's fight for their heritage lost in the Holocaust.

By: Helen Hatzis

Published: April 5th, 2010 in Culture » Books » Reviews

Restitution

Restitution is the true story of a Czech-Canadian family who faced down Nazis, Communists, and corruption to recover their four paintings.

Kathy Kacer's lastest book Restitution begins in a small town near Prague on the eve of the Nazi invasion. The Reeser family are Jewish and know that they must flee Czechoslovakia, but before leaving they deliver four valuable oil paintings into the hands of a business partner for safekeeping. Led by the intrepid matriach of the family, Marie Reeser, they make their escape under the nose of the occupying Nazis, arriving in Canada just days before the start of World War II.

Marie and her family could never forget the paintings they'd left behind. Marie risked her safety to return to Czechoslovakia after the war to try and recover them, only to be forced to abandon her cause when the Communists seized power. Years later, in 1989, a letter arrived at the Toronto home of Marie's son, Karl Reeser, saying that the paintings could be found in a private home in Prague. This ignited the final stage of the saga, as Karl set out to fulfill his mother's dream of returning the paintings to their familly.

Karl would help find with his mission from two unlikely sources - a mid-level diplomat at the Canadian embassy in Prague, and a daring Czech art smuggler. Both men were touched by the Reesers' decades-long search to restore what was rightfully theirs. From sneaking the paintings into the Canadian embassy in the dead of night to rolling them up and shipping them past the Communist authorities, all three men went to great lengths, and some risk, to help bring the paintings home.

In Restitution, author Kathy Kacer tells this true story of a family's quest in compelling detail, the story fleshed out with the Reeser family's pictures and documents. Karl Reeser, now in his 80s still lives in Toronto where he proudly displays two of the paintings, while the other two are in the Toronto home of his sister, Hana. The paintings are a reminder of what was lost in the Holocaust, but also what endured - the strength and determination of their family.

Stay tuned for our one-on-one interview with author Kathy Kacer.

This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram TrendingShalom Life is Saying Goodbye Shalom Life is Saying Goodbye TrendingShaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide... Shaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide... Trending
 

This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram

August 27, 2015 | By Sy Berg
This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram

2HipJews are putting the 'modern' back into modern Orthodox

Read More

Shalom Life is Saying Goodbye

August 27, 2015 | By Shalom Life Staff
Shalom Life is Saying Goodbye

After nearly 7 years, we are sadly ending Shalom Life's run.

Read More

Shaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...

August 26, 2015 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...

Tony Kushner's family drama challenges it's audiences on so many levels, it leaves you breathless and beaten. It is awesome; astounding, humbling, overwhelming and remarkable.

Read More

Shaw Festival Review- The Divine: A Play for Sarah Berhnardt

August 23, 2015 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review- The Divine: A Play for Sarah Berhnardt

This powerful play based on a true story is an absolute must-see this summer.

Read More

Top 10 Most Influential LGBT Jews

August 14, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 10 Most Influential LGBT Jews

These 10 LGBT celebrities are an inspiration to us all.

Read More

Crossfit “Guru” Does Handstand at Holocaust Memorial

August 14, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
Crossfit “Guru” Does Handstand at Holocaust Memorial

Dave Driskell apologized Monday evening for his actions

Read More

There’s a Jewish Rapper with a #1 Hit Record, and His Name’s Not Drake

August 14, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
There’s a Jewish Rapper with a #1 Hit Record, and His Name’s Not Drake

Lil Dicky's 'Professional Rapper' sells 22,000 copies in its first week

Read More

Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records

August 14, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records

Reports indicate that some 78,000 travelers passed through the Israeli airport in a single day

Read More

More Headlines