World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder presented English actress Helen Mirren with the WJC Recognition Award, an award for outstanding individuals working on behalf of the Jewish people, for her part in the film Woman in Gold at an event in New York Friday.
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In Woman in Gold Mirren portrayed Maria Altmann, an Austrian-American woman who made headlines with her legal battle against the Austrian government to reclaim five Gustav Klimt paintings – including the famous Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, nicknamed ‘Woman in Gold’ – that were stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II.
“Being a part of this film and preserving Maria Altmann’s legacy has been a truly exceptional experience from the start,” Mirren said at the award ceremony. “I am utterly moved to receive this award from the World Jewish Congress, an organization that does such important work all over the globe in advocating for Jewish rights.”
“Thanks to Helen Mirren’s stunning performance – which really electrified this issue – the international public will learn about this legacy of World War II which still hasn’t been addressed properly by many governments and museums,” Lauder said.
After the Austrian government gave Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Altmann sold it to Lauder in 2006. It is now on display at the Neue Galerie in Manhattan.