Christie’s has announced the cancellation of the second auction of jewels belonging to Austrian billionaire Heidi Horten, whose husband Helmut Horten made his fortune under the Nazis. The decision comes after intense scrutiny and controversy surrounding the initial auction held in May, which had been scheduled to have a second round in November.
The auction of Heidi Horten’s collection had initially garnered significant attention, with some items selling for record-breaking prices. However, concerns were raised about the provenance of the jewels and their potential links to victims of the Nazis.
Jewish groups and historians had called on Christie’s to halt the sale and investigate the origins of the jewelry. Heidi Horten’s husband, Helmut Horten, was revealed to have been a member of the Nazi party and had acquired several businesses that had belonged to Jewish owners who had fled during the war.
In response to the controversy, Christie’s decided not to proceed with further sales of property from the Estate of Heidi Horten and acknowledged that the sale had provoked intense scrutiny and strong reactions. The auction house had previously defended the sale by stating that all proceeds would go to charities and that they would make a significant donation toward Holocaust research and education.
The cancellation of the second auction reflects the ethical and moral considerations surrounding the sale of items with potential Nazi links and highlights the sensitivity of such issues in the auction world.