Sharon man charged with stealing neighbor's Holocaust heirloom

Staff reports

A Sharon man faces charges he stole a painting out of his neighbor’s house that was one of the few possessions a Jewish family managed to take with them as they escaped Nazi Germany at the beginning of the Holocaust, District Attorney William Keating said.

A grand jury indicted Steven Zaharoff, 57, of 9 Robin Road, earlier this month, charging him with stealing a painting that was the prized possession of the late Charles H. Marks. Zaharoff pleaded innocent earlier this month in Stoughton District Court.

The painting has not been recovered.

Marks’s family at first believed the painting – a winter landscape that still bore the slash marks from the Nazi rampage of Kristallnacht – might have been lost while he was moving out of his longtime Robin Road home last fall for an assisted living facility in Canton. Marks was 87. He has since died.

The family reported the painting stolen to Sharon police in October.

The painting was slashed by Nazis who broke into the Marks’ home in Berlin on Nov. 9, 1938, Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass.” Nazis destroyed more than 250 synagogues throughout the country that night. The night is recognized as the start of the Holocaust.

Charles Marks was a teenager when his family escaped Germany. He and wife, Ilse, who died in August, displayed the painting in their home for 47 years.

Zaharoff is charged with entering a home under false pretenses, larceny from a person over age 65 and larceny of property worth less than $250. If convicted on all counts, he could face up to 16 years in prison.

The Patriot Ledger