Alumni Spotlight: Sean Zehmer

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Sean Zehmer German Studies Alumnus UMD

Since my graduation in 2011, I decided to go to law school at the George Washington University. I am completing my final year, and for the past ten months, I have been working part-time at a small law firm in Georgetown called Eisenstein Malanchuk LLP. Before hiring me, the firm had been searching for a German speaker to work in its art restitution department. The firm has a major client whose deceased relative was a well-known Jewish art dealer in Paris before World War II broke out. During the relative’s attempt to flee from the Nazis, he was caught and sent to a concentration camp, and his prominent artworks were confiscated. Today, the firm is helping his family recover these stolen artworks, which include famous artists as Monet, Derain, and Titian. My role is researching German archives and translating documents to establish an artwork’s provenance in order to assert a claim on the client’s behalf. Without my degree in German, I would not have been hired by the firm I work at now, and I certainly would not be doing such rewarding and unique work.