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Event Spotlight: Port Jefferson Documentary Series Launches Tonight at Theatre Three

First film, "Portrait of Wally," tracks history of the theft of a piece of art from Nazi Germany.

After Jewish art dealer Lea Bondi fled for her life from Nazi Germany in 1939, a portrait that artist Egon Schiele made of his mistress, Walburga (Wally) Newzil was lost when it was stolen from her collection. Decades later, the painting came to a New York gallery and started a 13-year-long legal battle that brought a spotlight on the theft of art and treasure from Jews during the Holocaust.

On Monday night, a film that captured the history of the painting and the part it played in helping heirs to property stolen during World War II reclaim lost artwork.

"The 'Wally' case brought the story of Nazi art loot into the open, eventually forcing museums in Europe and the U.S. to search their own collections," the organizers of the film series said in a statement announcing the film. "Many museums ended up returning art to those who had abandoned hope until 'Wally' showed that institutions could be held accountable."

Click here to read about the grants that Theatre Three and the Port Jefferson Documentary Series both received from Suffolk County this year.

Head over to Theatre Three in Port Jefferson at 7 p.m. on Monday to see "Portrait of Wally," the first in the annual film series. Fred Gross, from the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center will be the guest speaker. Tickets at the door are $5. Doors open around 6:30 p.m. This film is being shown in co-operation with Gallery North in Setauket.

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