mike require many organized fine based on the constitution. it's the people who are doing badly. lou: we thank you for being with us. and congressman mark meadows and >> pedal-pushing primates. >> grandpa would go with a young gorilla on a motorcycle, go get a slurpee. >> grappling great apes. >> people would come and watch people box and wrestle. >> but, this whole "gorilla magilla"... >> people would come and picket the facility. >> ...is no barrel of monkeys. >> i was told "don't open this envelope until i pass away." he's a good boy. >> that sounds like an ultimatum. >> it was. game on. ♪ ♪
>> i'm jamie colby, and today i'm headed to palm harbor, florida on the gulf coast, about 20 miles northwest of tampa. yoknow, sotimes the strange things at peoplinherit on this show reflect timeless american values. sometimes, though, they tell us how much times have changed. this is one of those stories where the heir is faced with a gorilla-sized challenge. >> my name is debbie cobb. my grandmother, anna mae noell, passed away in october of 2000, leaving behind her 53 primates that i had to figure out how to care for. >> debbie, i'm jamie. nice to meet you. >> glad to meet you. >> you know, i see there's a lot of retirees here in florida. yours are a pretty wild bunch. >> well, you haven't seen the half of it. >> what a beautiful place. it's a 12-acre primate sanctuary, full of irresistible characters.
like pongo, a 400-pound male orangutan. >> he really, really likes you jamie, because he doesn't just purr for anybody. [ pongo vocalizing softly ] >> that's purring. >> that's purring. >> i can tell he's a flirt. >> oh, a big one. >> pongo's original home was a zoo in south carolina. but he didn't play well with the other orangutans. >> bye, pongo. >> these guys don't get the option of being able to go to a zoo, so they would have had to be euthanized if they didn't come here. there's somebody else i want to introduce you to, is blue -- is a spider monkey. he's 57 years old. >> what's special about blue? >> well he's a critically endangered species, and the number one thing that makes him so special to me is he's actually the same age as i am and he was around when my grandparents were here. >> debbie's grandmother, anna mae noell, is born into a north carolina family of traveling performers in the vaudeville era. as a boy, her grandfather bob joins a troop of vaudevillians
from virginia who raised him like a son. anna mae reminisces about those early years in this recording decades later. in 1931 by chance or kismet, their traveling families wind up in the same town, pamplin, virginia at exactly the same time. they combine acts for a one week variety show. >> your grandparents met pretty young. >> oh yeah. they were really teenagers. >> and suddenly, they're teenagers in love. >> grandma would always tell me "we weren't supposed to be seeing each other, but we did." [ laughing ] that's funny. they had planned this big getaway
and off they were. >> they eloped to new orleans and at first stick with what they know, vaudeville. then one day bob goes to see a man about a car. he returns, instead, with a 90-pound chimp named snookie. >> grandpa actually put up $300 to get him, and back then that was a lot of money. >> he plans to make it all back, and more by taking a new act on the road featuring the world's only athletic ape. >> so, they went from juggling and joking to monkey business? >> absolutely. yes. >> and part of this act was allowing people to go in the ring with a chimp. >> they said, "how can we do an act, not get people hurt or killed, make sure the animals have fun... grandpa would go talk to the police department and find out who was the biggest, baddest bully in the town. and then they would spread the word that this big, bad bully was gonna be there to box and wrestle with the chimpanzee. >> did any man ever win? >> no -- people didn't know what a chimpanzee was.
a 95-pound chimp can pull 850 pounds in one arm, and when they're mad 1250, so it didn't happen. >> you got to think if bob tried this today he'd be the one getting the beatdown from a disapproving public. but in 1940, it's a laugh riot. >> nothing like a chimp humiliating you. >> he wasn't the big, bad bully anymore. ♪ >> snookie is such a hit that bob and anna mae add more chimps to their show. they also add two kids -- velda mae, who would become debbie's mom, and bobby jr., her uncle who, years later, recalled the snookie routine fondly. >> for 14 years the troop follows the carnival circuit, not always to screams of delight. >> how many injuries have there been in your family as a result of dealing
with exotic animals? >> well, i don't know how many injuries, but you have to remember they have great teeth and they can hurt you. i remember that grandpa lost his fingers. >> grandpa bob noell tells the story again and again through the years. >> at least he wasn't also losing an arm and a leg. in fact, by 1954 the noells have socked away enough to purchase 12 acres of incorporated land in florida, a place to call home in the winter months. this is where granddaughter debbie is born to velda mae in 1959. >> how'd your parents feel about you hanging out at the chimp farm? >> well, my dad loved it. my dad was more like a son to my grandparents. my mom on the other hand, she was there,
but, i'll be honest, i think that was very hard for my mom. >> the noells certainly make for interesting neighbors. >> the animals had as much freedom as we did back in the day. >> bill stanton, a kid on a farm a stone's throw away, pals around with debbie and the chimps. >> some of them didn't actually go into cages at all. they literally lived in the houses and the trailers with people. >> was that smart? >> maybe not, but when you have grandparents that aren't normal... ♪ ...and you're playmates are gorillas, orangutans, and chimps it doesn't get better than that. >> somewhere along the way the noells' enterprise begins to shift. they're still entertainers, but with a growing focus on animal rescue. >> grandma and grandpa were one of the first in the state of florida to have a great ape license, and that's how it all began, 'cause they went from chimps to orangutans to gorillas. >> blue the spider monkey,
arrives about that time. then there's a young lowland gorilla named otto that her grandmother rescues in 1968. >> i was a child and i heard my grandmother was gonna go get this sick gorilla. he couldn't even stand up, and he had this septic arthritis and he had tb, so he had to be quarantined. >> the family nurses otto back to health, and he becomes almost a brother to debbie. >> you don't look afraid. >> oh, not at all. i felt more secure with him than with anybody in the world. >> was he dangerous? >> i never was afraid of him -- never. >> he grows up to be a fearsome sight though. so fearsome that american tourister casts him as the 400-pound suitcase abusing star in its famous luggage ads. by then debbie's grandparents have quit the carnival circuit. but they don't retire in florida. instead, they open their home to the public. they call it noell's ark chimp farm.
they're hoping all these lovable creatures can keep tourists entertained and support them and their rescue efforts. it doesn't quite work out that way. >> the attitude and the people changed. people would picket. they were being chastised. >> that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question -- in 1953, j. fred muggs becomes the first regular animal cast member on a live television show. which show was it? "the nfl on cbs," "the price is right," or, the "today" show? the answer after the break. ♪ this is the silverado special edition. this is one gorgeous truck. oh, did i say there's only one special edition? because, actually there's five. ooohh!! aaaahh!! uh! hooooly mackerel. wow. nice. strength and style. it's truck month. get 0% financing for 60 months
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of our annual income... we could keep doing all the things we love. prudential. bring your challenges. >> so, which 1950's tv show featured j. fred muggs? it's the "today" show. to raise ratings, producers cast the chimp as host dave garroway's sidekick. >> in 1971, bob and anna mae noell turned the florida headquarters of their traveling animal show into a family compound and permanent roadside attraction. they call it noell's ark chimp farm. >> everybody would come and see grandpa play with the gorilla... ♪ >> ...because that was very abnormal to see a 650-pound gorilla playing with a 250-pound man. grandpa would go with a young gorilla on a motorcycle,
go up to the 7-eleven, go get a slurpee. >> there would be chimps, orangutans, gorillas sitting up on the front wall. >> neither of anna mae and bob's kids, debbie's mom and uncle, wants a career in the family business. undeterred, anna mae devotes her golden years to the serious work of rescuing more apes. >> we have had practically no social life, because all our life is wrapped up in these animals. i don't go out to cocktail parties, i don't go to tea parties. y of that uff. >> not that they're getting invited to a lot of parties down the block. with every passing year more and more neighbors complain the chimp farm is a smelly nuisance. >> new people come in, and suddenly instead of growing lettuce and tomatoes, there's a housing development that goes up. >> steve fiske is chairman of the local chamber of commerce. he says some new residents find the chimps a little too close to home.
>> if the wind's in the right direction you're gonna realize it has odors. >> odors? debbie doesn't even notice. throughout high school she helps care for the apes. she then studies nursing and veterinary technology in college. >> at 21, i decided to set off and go visit 21 zoos across the united states. >> and when she does, she keeps hearing something that makes her proud. seems folks everywhere actually know of her grandmother. >> and they would say "you know mae knoll"? i had a job at the atlanta zoo just off of her name and her reputation. >> but by now, back in florida, grandma's reputation is under assault. animal rights groups put the chimp farm on a black list. >> people would come from other places in the world and even stand there and picket the facility. >> how did grandma react when there would be protesters? >> it bothered her, but even then in her only-grandma style
would bring animals out to the picket line and say "this is what you're picketing against." >> things only get harder for anna mae noell. in 1991, debbie's grandpa bob falls into a diabetic coma and dies. anna mae loses her lifelong companion of 60 years. >> if you knew anything about them two, they were a team. it was the hardest time in my life watching her go through that. >> it also leaves debbie's grandma, now in her 80s, to run the chimp farm. so, debbie stays in florida to help keep it going. >> i thought i would just come to the chimp farm and work on the weekends and visit all my friends. and then my whole world changed. >> because in 1999 state and federal authorities closed the chimp farm to the public citing its small cages with rusty or jagged edges. they can keep the animals for now, but they can no longer charge
admission. >> were they right in terms of condition? >> maybe for the enclosures, but not in love, care, and consistency in the care of the animals. >> authorities give the chimp farm three years to make the necessary improvements. 85-year-old anna mae responds by taking in yet more primates. they can live for years, a lot longer than the increasingly frail anna mae can expect to. so what will happen to the place when she's gone? one day she gives debbie a sealed envelope with an explicit instruction. >> i was told "don't open this envelope until i pass away." >> then in october 2000, anna mae noell dies at age 86. >> what would happen to the chimp farm without grandma? >> mm... >> the answer is in that envelope. debbie opens it after the break.
>> here's another quiz question for you. where is america's most-visited zoo? san diego, the bronx, or washington d.c.? the answer when we return. ♪ c'mon in, pop pop! happy birthday! i survived a heart attack. i'm doing all i can to keep from having another one. and i'm taking brilinta. for people who've been hospitalized for a heart attack. i take brilinta with a baby aspirin. no more than one hundred milligrams as it affects how well it works. brilinta helps keep my platelets from sticking together and forming a clot. brilinta reduced the chance of another heart attack. or dying from one. it worked better than plavix. don't stop taking brilinta without talking to your doctor since stopping it too soon
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♪ >> so, which is america's most-visited zoo? it's the san diego zoo where the lucky animals live within site of the pacific ocean and captivate more than 3 million visitors a year. >> in the fall of 2000, anna mae noell dies leaving behind her life's work -- the chimp farm she and her late husband created. it's home to more than
50 primates, and it's sitting on some prime florida real estate. but if any of anna mae's heirs have plans for that land, she's about to throw a monkey wrench into them. >> when grandma died... >> mm-hmm? ...there was a brown envelope. >> [ sighs ] >> tell me about it. >> an envelope changed my life. >> inside that envelope is a document that names debbie's uncle bob, her mother velda mae, and debbie as heirs and trustees, and instructs the three of them to hold the property jointly for the benefit of the animals. >> grandma put a trust together for the animals, and it's clearly stated that as long as there was one animal and one person that came back, then the animal park would be there. >> in other words, if one of the trustees wants to keep the chimp farm alive, the other two cannot shut it down and sell off the land.
anna mae must have known it wou be just one person -- debbie. >> that one thing she did changed my life forever. i had to either help the chimps or walk away. >> how much was the land worth when you inherited it? >> somebody said that it was worth about $6 million. >> here's the point where a strange inheritance splits a family apart. debbie's mother and uncle, she claims, push her to give up the chimp farm so they can sell the land. >> they told me "why would you want it and ruin your life for a group of animals when you could have $2 million in the bank, and you'd never have to work again?" >> you could do it. >> some would, but who are you going to sacrifice in that? were you gonna lose otto? were you gonna lose her oldest chimp that lived well into his 60s? which animal was gonna be sacrificed for a dollar bill? >> it was two against one. >> i knew that some of those animals had been ones that they had grown up with. could they really, at the end of the day, turn their back on them?
>> neither debbie's uncle or mother would appear in this program. both denied to us they wanted to see the chimp farm closed. whoever said what to whom, there's no doubt debbie was only given two options -- put up or shut down. >> that sounds like an ultimatum. >> it was. game on. >> that's next. what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com.
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>> now, back to "strange inheritance." >> in 2000 when anna mae noell dies, she leaves behind a shuddered chimpanzee farm with dozens of apes, chimps, and critters. a trust provides that the sanctuary remain open -- so long as her son, daughter, or granddaughter debbie is willing to run it. only when it closes can those three sell the land.
the heirs do not see eye to eye. >> i had to be the person that said these animals needed someone. >> debbie says the family dispute is so bitter it ends her relationship with both her mother and uncle. >> but in the end, anna mae noell's trust for the benefit of the animals prevails. >> did the get anything out of the estate? >> they weren't supposed to get anything in the beginning. remember, it was a trust for the animals. it didn't say "a trust for debbie, a trust for uncle, and a trust for mom." it said "a trust for animals." >> but now what? the antiquated chimp farm is already on notice with authorities for its run-down enclosures. >> i already had planned on building a larger enclosure for the animals, because that was what my heart was. >> and if there's one thing i've learned about debbie, it's that the first thing
she inherited from her crazy family is heart. >> anybody who wants to help come to the chimp farm. it will change your life. it's changed mine dramatically. >> it takes nearly a decade, but her big plans become reality. >> in 2008, she reopens the animal she to the public as the gleaming suncoast primate sanctuary. [ ragtime music plays ] >> and to think this all started with a chance meeting on the vaudeville circuit, a boxing chimp named snookie, and a madcap bunch of bike riding apes. but not everything changes aboard old noell's ark. in fact, things come full circle when debbie marries and chooses to raise another generation... >> that's my daughter. say "hi," brandi. >> hi. >> hey, brandi. >> thank you, brandi. >> ...amidst the gorillas
and monkeys and birds and reptiles. it's a decision that affirms all that grandma anna mae worked for. >> good job. >> so, this is sort of a refuge -- hoping that our great-grandchildren will be able to see a live chimpanzee. >> this is the hardest journey i've ever been in in my life. all my blessings were restored by making sure i did the right thing for the right reason. you're my buddy. >> debbie tells me that parting with one of the primates is like losing an old friend. remember otto, the lowland gorilla from the luggage ads who would carry debbie around on his back? well, otto died shortly after his 42nd birthday party. but one of his fans couldn't bear never seeing him again, and so donated the funds to have him stuffed. debbie says if otto can go on display some day he'll continue the sanctuary's mission of wildlife conservation.
i'm jamie colby. thanks so much for watching "strange inheritance." and remember -- you can't take it with you. >> one family's secret history buried in old boxes. >> i needed to know who i was, where our family came from. >> a fortune in precious art looted by the nazis. >> renoir, degas, botticelli... >> i'm sorry, the degas, the renoir? >> oh, yeah. we didn't know until we started to read through these documents and discover what he'd been looking for all his life. >> two sons vow to keep their father's search alive. >> it's about vindicating my father and my grandfather. >> we said, "you can't sell this painting. it's ours. it's stolen." [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]
>> i'm jamie colby in los angeles, on my way to see two brothers and their surprise inheritance, works by some of the world's greatest artists. the nazis stole these masterpieces, and the heirs' fight to get them back uncovered something more -- their family's hidden history. >> my name is simon goodman, and this is my brother, nick. when our father died, we got some old cardboard boxes in the mail. >> hi, simon. i'm jamie. >> simon goodman. delighted to meet you, jamie. >> simon invites me into his beverly hills home. >> jamie, these are two pieces that i'm very proud of, a drawing and an engraving by renoir. >> renoir? >> yes, yes, the man himself, the great impressionist. >> you must have quite the collecting family. >> this is really just the beginning of a big story. >> it starts in london after world war ii.
from an early age, simon and nick regard their dad as an often gloomy man of mystery. what did dad do for a living? >> not really sure. he was a manufacturer's agent, whatever that meant, but it allowed him to go to europe all the time. >> did he ever take you on these trips? >> yes, especially in the summer, but we would get parked on a beach, usually with our mother or a nanny, and dad would disappea somewhere. >> the boys learn that questions about their father's past are off limits. because, if you did, what would happen? >> he sunk into an even worse funk. there was something fuming in there, and it was all bottled up. >> the brothers know next to nothing about their dad's family. simon remembers having all sorts of questions about his grandparents. what were you told? >> they died. >> that's it? >> that's really it. they died during the war. i questioned my mother about it, and she said, "i strongly recommend you not bring it up." >> his father does explain
one thing, the reason that he, as a young immigrant from holland, changed his name on the eve of world war ii. your dad is gutmann. >> yes. >> you're goodman. how'd that happen? >> he thought being called berhard eugen friedrich gutmann sounded a little too german, so he changed his name to bernard eugene goodman. >> did you ever ask your parents if you were jewish? >> yes, because my brother and i -- this is interesting -- have different experiences here because he's he's blond and blue-eyed. i'm olive-skinned. my name is simon goodman. everybody assumed i was jewish. >> did you practice judaism growing up? >> no, my mother had had me christened in the church of england. >> did that seem odd? >> it did seem odd. as usual, my mother interceded. she said, "well, yes, some of your family had been jewish originally." and that's about as much as i knew. >> in the early '70s, simon and nick, now in their 20s, both moved to los angeles
to pursue careers in the music business. the distance between father and sons grows ever greater, especially after their parents divorce in 1973. >> as we got older, he actually shut down more, so it became harder and harder to get any information out of him. >> i grew up with this mostly silent father. he could talk to me about cricket and innocuous subjects. i needed to know who i was, where our family came from. >> bernard goodman dies in 1994 at age 80 without providing an answer. but three months after their father's death, the brothers receive a mysterious shipment of boxes filled with old papers that reveal their father's secret history. >> my grandparents were murdered in concentration camps. >> the nazis took everything, not just the famous artworks, but everything. >> but first, our
"strange inheritance" quiz question. which allied leader during world war ii was an accomplished painter? winston churchill, franklin roosevelt, or josef stalin? the answer after the break. dear predictable, there's no other way to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced. our senses awake. our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say...if you love something set it free. see you around, giulia
fdr, sold in 2011 for $3 million. >> in los angeles, brothers simon and nick goodman are sorting through boxes that came in the mail from the estate of their late father, bernard. >> all these old letters, and many more, were in those original boxes my brother and i received, yes, and these passports, old diaries. >> they uncover a secret family history tracing back to their grandfather, fritz gutmann, who was born in germany in 1886 into a jewish banking dynasty. they learn that fritz was a passionate art collector. >> extraordinary works of art by some of the great masters. >> for example? >> well, guardi, botticelli, degas. >> are you thinking this is unbelievable? >> this suddenly appeared as the tip of the iceberg. >> they find this photo
of a 30-room mansion near amsterdam, where their father grew up along with his little sister, lily. then they uncover the horrifying facts that their father had kept from them. in 1940, bernard is 26 and serving in the british army after graduating from cambridge university. in april that year, hitler invades norway and denmark. bernard fears the nazis will soon head west into holland, where his parents are still living. >> he sent a few cables back to holland, saying, "please come to england." >> bernard's sister, lily, takes refuge in italy with her italian husband, but their parents refuse to leave. >> my grandfather was rather stubborn, and he had built a beautiful home full of wonderful things. he didn't just want to up and lee it and run. >> the german armies then swept over holland. >> in may 1940, the nazis cross
the border into holland. as part of their conquest, they begin targeting jewish art collectors, including grandpa fritz. >> this is the last nazi inventory, room by room, of my grandparents' home in holland. >> oh, my goodness! >> so this lists everything. >> so i see chippendale tables and paintings and -- >> yes, yes, yes. >> the nazis loot more than 1,200 items -- paintings, silver, jewelry, and antiques such as this rare 16th-century clock given to fritz by his late father, eugen. >> the nazis took everything, not just the famous artworks, but everything. >> nick and simon find records showing the nazis forced their grandfather to sell the items recorded on the list, worth many millions of dollars, for pennies. >> the germans, in their meticulousness, had paid my grandfather for the contents of the house. they didn't want to just take it.
they want your signature on a piece of paper that says you sold it to them. [ dramatic music plays ] >> the nazis begin deporting dutch jews to concentration camps in the summer of 1942. in may 1943, ss agents arrive at the gutmann estate, arrest fritz and his wife, louise, and place them on a train bound for berlin. there, fritz is brought before nazi officials, who order him to sign over the gutmann family's massive silver collection. he refuses. >> so, after he refuses to sign, the train from berlin heads south, and they're let out in the concentration camp of theresienstadt. my grandfather refused one last time to sign over the silver. he's, by one eyewitness account, beaten to death by the wall outside the small fortress at the edge of the camp. >> what happened to your grandmother?
>> sadly, a month or two after my grandfather was murdered, she was put on a transport train to auschwitz, where i learned she was murdered the day she arrived. >> the brothers learn that, when the war in europe ends in may 1945, their dad returns to his childhood home in holland. >> he went to the house. everything was gone. >> he grew up thinking he was going to inherit this fabulous estate, and the war comes along. he loses everything. his parents are murdered. >> and now i understand. it became his task in life to try and piece together what might be left of the family estate. >> the documents in those boxes show that in 1946, their father begins filing claims with various european governments, including the netherlands, to reclaim his family's stolen art. he also reaches out to the allies' art
recovery team, called the monuments men, whose story was told in the 2014 film starring george clooney and matt damon. nick and simon discover that their father had direct correspondence with a french woman named rose valland, the inspiration for cate blanchett's character in the film. >> what is all this? >> people's lives. >> she helped keep track of all the looted paintings that the nazis were stealing from the various collections, and at night, she would go and photograph all the paintings and make surreptitious lists of everything. >> this photo from the gutmann estate in holland shows a painting by swiss-french artist jean-etienne liotard. bernard and rose track it down to austrian salt mines, where hitler stored stolen art. bernard recovers this painting and othe, but then sells them to fund hioning operation.
how devoted to the quest do you think he was, now that you know what you know? >> it was his lifetime mission. this is what he was all about, trying to find his family heritage. >> bernard goodman continues the search until his death in 1994. he never tells his sons what he was doing. >> never. >> why not? >> because, if he'd really felt that he'd achieved what he set out to achieve, he could've told us and been proud about it. instead, i think, he felt defeated. >> as the brothers discover where their father's quest ended, they come across an envelope containing three crinkled photo negatives. >> this is an unusual landscape by edgar degas. >> the degas? >> the degas. >> next thing they know, they're following in their father's footsteps on the trail of another masterpiece. >> everybody just closed
the doors in our faces all the time. nobody knew anything about nazi looted art. nobody wanted to know anything about it. >> was it the money? >> no, it's justice. it's about vindicating my father and my grandfather. >> here's another quiz question for you. a young adolf hitler failed the entrance exam at the vienna academy of fine arts. why? he was color-blind? he failed at drawing the human form? or his drawings were too violent? the answer when we return. when you have something you love,
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>> from a box of documents left to them by their father, brothers simon and nick goodman are piecing together a secret family history. among their father's papers, they find a list of paintings, looted by the nazis, that he was still searching for, along with three tattered photo negatives. >> i'm afraid they're a bit wrinkled. they've been around since world war ii. >> why would that be in the file? >> it was an envelope of negatives, and there was a letter nearby that explained that rose valland had taken these photos during the nazi occupation of paris. >> one of them shows a painting listed as "paysage," meaning landscape in french. it appears to be the work of edward degas, the 19th-century impressionist master best known for depicting ballet dancers. what is is like looking at a negative of a degas... >> mm-hmm.
>> ...and knowing that it belonged to your family? >> well, it was huge, and then it became clear we had to do our homework. >> to find a match to that timeworn negative, the brothers pore through art books and auction catalogs. >> after, well, a month or two, i finally hit pay dirt. >> what'd you find? >> i found this "degas landscapes," and, lo and behold... >> it's in the book? >> ...there it is, in color. i nearly fell off my chair when i found this. >> simon discovers that the painting had been on loan to the art institute of chicago. >> it listed who the current owner was. >> who was it? >> it says here, mr. and mrs. daniel searle. >> records show that in 1987, daniel searle, a chicago pharmaceuticals magnate, bought the painting from a private collector for 850 grand, so the brothers inform
searle that they want their family's painting back. >> they said, "well, go away," you know, "who are you? we bought this fair and square." >> searle's lawyers point out that simon and nick's grandfather's name, fritz gutmann, is absent from the painting's chain of custody. true, but the list of owners does include a german art dealer, hans wendland, who did business with the nazis. >> the degas was taken from my grandfather's storage unit in paris and smuggled to switzerland because the strange thing was, the nazis didn't like impressionist paintings, so what they would do is they'd send those to switzerland, and they'd either get old masters in return or actually hard currency. >> in 1998, facing a costly legal battle, the brothers settle out of court for about $250,000. as part of the deal, daniel searle donates the degas to the art institute of chicago.
>> the art institute of chicago today lists it clearly as "donated by daniel searle," but from the collection of fritz and louise gutmann. my grandfather didn't just die for nothing. he didn't just disappear. >> it's a landmark case, the first dispute over nazi-looted art settled in the us. >> the case renewed hope to families who might not have recovered property after world war ii, that indeed they could recover property. >> and as you're about to see, the goodman brothers' first victory makes them all the more eager to complete their father's quest. >> we went, "oh, my god! there's, like, at least two dozen paintings, some serious pieces of art." i thought, "this belongs to us. we'll find it." >> what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com.
♪ >> now, back to "strange inheritance." >> brothers nick and simon goodman are on a mission to recover their family's valuable art collection looted by the nazis. after reclaiming one of their grandfather's most sought-after paintings, this degas landscape, they're on the hunt for more. >> my did didn't give up for 40 or 50 years, so we were just carrying on the family tradition. >> their next target, a painting by the italian renaissance master sandro botticelli, listed in their father's records with the title "portrait of a young man." as luck would have it, the botticelli almost appears out of thin air. >> we get a call from a friend who just said, "i saw your botticelli. it's in a sotheby's catalog coming up for sale in a couple of weeks." >> where? >> in new york. they actually had my grandfather's name in the provenance, listed on the catalog.
we said, "you can't sell this painting. it's ours. it's stolen." >> after some negotiation, the seller agrees to pay the goodmans a little over $100,000, about one-sixth the painting's value at the time. while not ideal, the settlement avoids a costly legal battle. the painting itself ends up at the denver art museum. >> do you do it for the money, or to right a wrong? >> oh, to right a wrong. i mean, money's great, but it's our family heritage. >> then, in 2002, after decades of dispute, the dutch government finally returns more than 250 artworks and antiques to the goodmans that have been tangled up in red tape since world war ii. the heirlooms are stockpiled in a warehouse, where simon, nick, and their 83-year-old aunt, lily, who escaped to italy during the war, are invited to visit. >> they'd arranged our furniture as it might have been in a home.
i led her to this old chaise longue. she said, "oh, look! i remember this!" and i said, "well, it's ours again." >> oh! >> "sit. relax for a minute." i helped her sit in her mother's chaise longue. >> we picked things out that we wanted, so simon has things in his house. i have things in my house, and lily and her family have stuff in italy. >> in 2003, the more than 160 remaining items from the collection go up for sale at christie's in london and amsterdam. this flemish tapestry hammers in at $85,000. a silver gilt double cup goes for 600,000, and this 17th-century silver gilt pitcher -- just over a million. the total, more than $4 million. is there more, simon? >> there's probably at least
12 important paintings and about 300 or more antiques. >> and, clearly, you won't quit. >> no, i'm very grateful that i'm able to uncover my real roots. through this art, i get to know what my family was like, and i can touch something they touched. >> and remember this 16th-century table clock looted by the nazis from the gutmann estate in holland? after simon tracked it down to a german museum, the museum agreed to pay his family about a million dollars for it, and simon got something else that you can't put a price tag on -- an apology. "we regret what happened to your family," the museum director told simon. "we are grateful, however, for the opportunity to set at least this matter straight." i'm jamie colby.
thanks so much for watching "strange inheritance." and remember, you can't take it with you. >> announcer: the following program is a paid advertisement for the hd mirrorcam, brought to you by inventel products, llc. yep, they're out there, driving recklessly, causing accidents, and driving up your insurance rates! this is a show about car accidents... ...classic cars... ...and the hd mirrorcam, the personal security camera for your car. this is... "accidents caught on camera" with the hd mirrorcam. today, we're going to hear from people who have been in accidents and used the hd mirrorcam to prove their case. hear from law enforcement experts to hear the secret to protect yourself from tickets