Christie’s Halts Auction of Late Austrian Billionaire’s Jewels Due to Nazi Ties

An upcoming auction of a late Austrian billionaire’s jewels at Christie’s was canceled Friday after ties to Nazi Germany prompted intense scrutiny and after multiple Jewish groups protested against the sale over her late husband’s membership in the Nazi party.

The jewel collection of Heidi Horten, the widow of the late German billionaire Helmut Horten who made his wealth in the 1930s when the Jewish owners of successful stores were pressured to sell their companies by the Nazi government.

With a net worth estimated by Forbes to be near $3 billion, Heidi Horten died last year at 81 and the initial May sale of her estate, which was also criticized, was a record for a single private collection when it netted more than $200 million.

Christie’s president Anthea Peers confirmed in a statement to The New York Times that the sale of Heidi Horten jewelry collection has provoked intense scrutiny and that following criticism of the sales, a portion of the proceeds was allocated by Christie’s towards Holocaust research after the main part went to a medical research foundation set up by Horten and a Vienna art museum.

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