(JTA) – Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren accepted an award for helping to educate the public about the issues surrounding Nazi-looted art.
On Friday, the World Jewish Congress presented Mirren with its Recognition Award, which honors those working on behalf of the Jewish people, at a ceremony at New York’s Neue Gallery.
Mirren starred in the 2015 film Woman in Gold, which tells the story of Maria Altmann, an Austrian-American woman who made headlines in 2006 for winning her legal battle against the Austrian government to reclaim five Gustav Klimt paintings, among them the famous “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” nicknamed “Woman in Gold.”
In 1938, the painting was among the works forced from their rightful owner, Altmann’s late husband, Ferdinand, because he was Jewish. Following its restitution to Maria Altmann in 2006, the painting was acquired by WJC President Ronald Lauder and is now on display at the Neue Galerie in Manhattan.
“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 ceremony, according to a statement from the World Jewish Congress. “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.”
Lauder presented the award to Mirren.
“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 at the ceremony, the statement said.