Home of the The Hall of Ma'at on the Internet
Discussion Forums

January 23, 2021, 1:53 pm UTC    
June 27, 2018 05:56PM




From the only page of the website I have been able to access:

Hello Andante,

a very warm wellcome from Vilain !!! :applaus:

Van Eyck's masterpeace is an obsession for me, and it was allso an obligation to testifie about the things that i know about the Judges . What a kind of a story !!

As you can see, my English is not so good, but I will try to answer all your questions about the subject .

I have many visitors from the United States and Britain ( 1548 from The States and 916 from United Kingdom ) , so perhaps there is a possibillity to translate my e-book ??? I do'nt know , but I wonder because the are coming back .

Do You let me known if that's right ?

The website is :[vilain.erdasys.com] Don's Edit: Website is no longer valid so I fear she may have passed on.

I hope that I can help you anyway . My story is those from an insider and all my letters to the officier of Justice are included in my book allso and there are many foto's .If You are interested , I can give You an article from Minette Walters , a crime-whriter, who was making a docu for the BBC in 1998 . I have met here then in the academy of Wetteren where I was painting ....

The DVD" De Visione Dei" is marvelous is'nt it ?
So is the painting : a thing of beauty and a joy for ever .

Kindly greetings and I hope we will meet you as much as possible .

Maria, Vilain

Thanks Olimiek for the kindly introduction smiling smiley

Additional Information

Part of the intervieuw from Minette Walters . in 1996 instead of 1998, sorry I had made a mistake .....

Programme Transcript

COMMENTARY: Alright, yes, I'm a best selling crime writer and I can solve crimes on paper. But what I like best is getting inside people's heads and seeing what makes them tick. So, can I solve a real mystery that happened 62 years ago? Particularly one which was so bungled by the police that the details even at the time were confusing. It's a challenge no self respecting crime writer could resist.
COMMENTARY: This is the story. In 1934 part of one of the largest and most important paintings in the world was stolen from the Belgium town of Gent. The stolen painting known as The Righteous Judges by the Flemish master Jan Van Eyck was worth a staggering ten million pounds in today's money. It has never been seen again.

COMMENTARY: The mystery is what did whoever stole it, do with the painting? Where are The Righteous Judges? And can I as a crime writer shed any light on the mystery of the missing master piece? The answer to these questions lies across the channel.

COMMENTARY: It all began on the night of April 10th, 1934, when 2 panels from Van Eyck's, Adoration of the Lamb, disappeared from Gent Cathedral. The theft outraged Belgian society. It was as if the crown jewels had been stolen. Especially, when it became clear that the police lacked the experience to solve the crime.

COMMENTARY: The most scathing critic of the police's bungling of the investigation is the retired ex-police chief of Gent, Karel Mortier. He's been obsessed with the case for 40 years - he's even written a book about it.

INTERVIEW 1 - KAREL MORTIER [Retired police Chief]: The press heard about it very quickly and when the police arrived at the cathedral at about nine o'clock and went to the chapel to do what was necessary the chapel was full of, I would call them sightseers the sort of people who go to look at scenes of disaster. Can you imagine? Because there was so many people there, the police left without having established anything and went on to investigate another case. Namely the theft of some cheese.

COMMENTARY: What had been stolen was a black and white painting of St John The Baptist and a rich detailed portrait of the great and the good, of late medieval society called The Righteous Judges, seen here on the far left of the altar piece. This of course is only a replica; The original never came back.

COMMENTARY: Even behind a protective glass case the scale and sheer visual power of the 24 panel altar piece takes the breath away. It also happens to be one of the most influential oil paintings in the history of art.


COMMENTARY: 500 years may have passed since Jan Van Eyck completed his master piece but he'd feel at home in Gent today. Many of it's many original, medieval buildings are still standing. It's just the sort of unlikely place I 'd choose as a setting for a novel about the art crime of the century. It's provincial, picturesque and above all peaceful. So it's no surprise that the police enquiry was so under powered they'd never dealt with a crime of this magnitude before.

COMMENTARY: But it was a great story for the Belgian newspapers. They splashed reconstructions of the crime across their front pages and made the police job even harder by confusing potential witnesses. The investigation was going nowhere, when 3 weeks later, the first of 13 ransom letters arrived demanding one million Belgian Francs for the return of the panels.

COMMENTARY: It was written in French, at that time the language of the educated in Belgium.

INTERVIEW WITH KAREL MORTIER: In it the unknown person said he had the two stolen paintings. He said he would return the first painting, there for nothing as proof that he had the more valuable of the two, the Righteous Judges and he wanted one million francs.

COMMENTARY: Six weeks after the theft the Bishop agreed to pay the ransom. As proof of his own trustworthiness DUA sent a left luggage ticket from Brussels North railway station which led the authorities to the panel of St. John the Baptist. It had been deposited the previous day and was well protected - wrapped in black oil cloth and brown paper. It was intact and undamaged. But the Bishop went back on his word. The Van Eyck altar piece was actually owned by the Belgian State and under pressure from the Government the Bishop refused to hand over the million francs. Not surprisingly DUA refused to return the painting. The next letter showed how angry he was.

READING FROM LETTER FROM DUA: "To break an agreement at the very moment when we were negogiating a relatively small ransom in proportion to the value of the most precious painting in the world. "

COMMENTARY: That left the police with few clues, no real leads and a stalled investigation.

COMMENTARY: I'm a prison visitor at Winchester Prison and this is where I usually come for professional help with my novels. Everyone in here has an insight into why crime happens. But to help me solve the mystery of the missing master piece I need to speak to an expert burglar and Mark Lawless is that man.


COMMENTARY: The first and only breakthrough in the case finally came seven months after the painting went missing when a 58 year old business man, Arsene Goedertier, died of a heart attack after addressing a meeting of the Catholic Peoples Party.

COMMENTARY: He lived here, 10 miles from Gent in the small town of Wetteren, was well respected in his local community and aspired to political office. Goedertier summoned his solicitor to his death bed and made an astonishing confession, "I alone know where the Righteous Judges are to be found - in my study, keys, cupboard". When the solicitor searched the dead man's study he found carbon copies of all the ransom letters. But nothing to indicate where Goedertier had hidden the Righteous Judges.

INTERVIEW WITH MR MORTIER It was in 1934, definitely a person who in his small town belonged to what would call the upper ten, the elite of Wetteren. He was clearly a megalomaniac, he had a big house near the centre of town and a car which he usually parked in front of his house to show how rich and important he was.

COMMENTARY: Pierre Vanden Durpel, Goderertier's nephew, remembers Goedertier as a man who wanted to be looked up to.

INTERVIEW PIERRE VANDEN DURPEL [Goedertier's Nephew]: If you saw him he was obviously a proud man, always well dressed in wite spats, smart suits and wing collars. There was always a little fiction between Goedertier and other people. Goedertier always felt himself to be a little bit superior to other people.

COMMENTARY: But why does a man who appears to be a pillar of the community, confess to robbing a church? Especially when he didn't have to. He could've made his peace with God by confessing to a priest as he lay dying. But he told his solicitor - why?

COMMENTARY: Because his priest would have been bound to secrecy and his solicitor wasn't. Goedertier wanted the world to know he was clever enough to have pulled off the art crime of the century.


COMMENTARY: As we're beginning to discover, Goedertier was no ordinary thief. He was a gifted organist, with a talent for improvisation and he was also a competent artist. This portrait of a local dignatry is one of his more celebrated efforts.

INTERVIEW KAREL MORTIER He attended school in Wettteren and on his father's advice, Goedertier who had a good understanding of art took art classes in drawing at the academy from the age of nine or ten. Godertier was quite a good pupil in art and painting and was always top of his class. When he was a bit older and was still attending drawing classes at the enlarged academy of Wetteren, he was awarded a distinction of a medal of a royal medal of honour for his painting.

COMMENTARY: Goedertier obviously knew his art and as far as he was concerned the most valuable painting in the world was Van Eyck's Adoration of the Lamb. He called it the Jewel of art. But he didn't steal the Righteous Judges for the money. He owned a successful stockbroking agency, Plantexcel, and had three million Belgian francs in the bank at the time of his death. His wife managed the business allowing Goedertier time to indulge his passion for detective fiction inparticular the works of Edgar Allen Poe.

INTERVIEW KAREL MORTIER It was really his wife who kept his stock broking agency running. And sometimes she reproached him for not being at home very much. That he spent too much time on trifles as she called them. She also reproached him quite specifically that he spent too much time with fantasies. What she meant, for example, his tendency to solve detective stories or get involved in them.

COMMENTARY: You could say, it takes one to know one. But if I had created Arsene Goedertier, I would need to establish his primary motivation. And to do that I'd consult my friend, pyscologist David Canter. He made legal history by drawing up the first ever pyscological profile of a criminal to be used in a British police investigation. His book Criminal Shadows ought to be every crime writers reference manuel.


READING FROM LETTER: "We recognise that the price demanded is high but what authority would dare assume the responsibility of rejecting our offers which amount to an ultimatum. We know very well that the artistic and cultural world would rise up in indignation if it should learn of such a refusal".


COMMENTARY: The death bed relevations begin to seem less corny. This is great stuff, we have an apparently respectable man who lives a life of rectitude while indulging in criminal fantasies of quite staggering proportions. This is an infinitely more interesting basis for a plot. Goedertier and his troubled psyche could have appeared in any one of my books. He was prepared to betray his family to prove his own cleverness. Nor is it far fetched to call it a murder story. By stealing the Righteous Judges in a way Goedertier destroyed Van Eyck's masterpiece. But, what did he do with the painting?


COMMENTARY: So, where are the Righteous Judges? Karel Mortier is convinced that they never left the cathedral and that the painting is hidden somewhere in the organ loft.

INTERVIEW KAREL MORTIER: In his last letter which he was unable to send because he died, Goedertier urged the Bishop not to loose anytime in doing whatever was necessary to get the panel back. Because as Goedertier both said and wrote it was in a place near where neither I or anyone else can retrieve it without drawing public attention to themselves. He meant by this that why he could no long get it back the Bishop could. He was actually very interested in everything connected with St. Baafskathedral. He was well informed about it and he could even get and it was later found a key to the organ house where the organist played. This was really extraordinary because nobody was allowed into the organ loft at that time. They still aren't allowed. But they definitely weren't at that time. But he managed to get a key.

COMMENTARY: Remember Goedertier's dying words were, "keys, cupboard"? The key to the organ loft was one of two keys found in his study after Goedertier's death.

READING FROM LETTER 4 "In a place where neither I nor anybody else can retrieve it without drawing public attention to themselves".

MINETTE PTC (Cathedral Gent)

COMMENTARY: So, if he did move it where did he move it to? Lets not forget the other key found in his study. If I put myself in Goedertier's shoes which isn't unreasonsable - since we both share a love of crime fiction and I also spend most of my working days indulging in fantasy - I'd choose a hiding place in Wetteren where Goedertier lived. The risk of association with me is far outweighed by my intimate knowledge of the environment and the control I can exercise over it. This is St. Gertrudes Church in Wetteren where Goedertier was verger and organist. Significantly the other key found in his study was the key to the back door of the church which meant Godertier had access to St Gertrudes day and night via his garden. Certainly I would have felt much safer hiding the Righteous Judges here, than leaving them in Gent Cathedral.

COMMENTARY: If he did hide the painting here it is well concealed. The roof was renewed 20 years ago and nothing was found. Of course, this space may only have been a temporary hiding place for the Righteous Judges. Whatever he did with it, surely part of the brilliance of Goedertier's plan was that no-one would suspect a pillar of Wetteren society of sacriligous vandalism.

COMMENTARY: So what other possible hiding places could there be for The Righteous Judges?


COMMENTARY: The problem is that once Goedertier had confessed, the police effectively stopped looking for the painting. So, there's been no systematic search of the numerous organ lofts that Goedertier is known to have visited regularly. Not just the one in Gent Cathedral. His passion for music gave him entry to any church where the organist was a friend. And what of the 45 properties he owned. Even his own house wasn't properly searched until years after his death. And little or no interest has been shown in the others.

INTERVIEW KAREL MORTIER : In all the years preceding the theft, the stolen panels which were crafted in the 15th century, there were all sorts of circumstances surrounding the panels - thefts, fire, looting, econolasim and it's amazing that during those entire 500 years the tryptch has always recovered and remained intact. I have an intuition that it's going to be the case, once again.

COMMENTARY: If this had been one of my novels it would have had an ending. But, sadly real life is rarely so neat. I may not have found the Righteous Judges in the few weeks I've been looking for them. But I do know where they are and they are not in the Cathedral in Gent.

COMMENTARY: All the evidence - Goedertier's feelings of superiority towards the people around him. His need even as he lay dying to have his cleverness recognised while knowing it would ruin his family. David Canter's view that he would have hidden the Righteous Judges in a place he alone could control and the fact that he certainly took the painting of St John The Baptist out of Gent Cathedral. All of these things point to the respectable, little town of Wetteren. That is where one of the most precious paintings in the world is and that is where the Belgians should be looking for their missing masterpiece.

I succeded to make a kopy from the intervieuwAndante .
It is not complete, but it give an impression from the story .

Mostly Mr. Mortier was intervieuwd . He is the Pope smiling smiley ex-police-officer who did reseaerch , but his theorie is not mine .

I have had contact with Minette Walters, Rita Keymeulen and the producer Davids Stewart . But they had no time to stay longer for completing the docu .
I did have many contacts with Rita Keymeulen , the translater and historica of Art . She had contacted during three weeks allso Minette Walters . But my story could not been given, because it was not allowd . The mystery must go on .....

About this docu I can allso tell You that BBC had offered to search in the kathedral of St. Baafs "for free" , but nobody was interresting then .......They proposed first the researchers of the case Dutroux, but this was to dangerous grinning smiley and than the offered an independent German team . There were allso promesses that nothing was in danger to distroyd or to bring dammage into the kathedral .

The crew was allowed to film, but they might not take shots on the Dokzaal =the place wher the Organ is (to play the music in the kathedral)
Referend Collin, conservator and member of the Kapittel from St.. Baafs was there all the time watching them , so that they not had the opportunity to film there - at the place who - in the option of Mortier - the thief had hidden the panel in the moment of the thieft .

Kindly greetings

Hi Vilain,

So nice to meet you grinning smiley . Don't worry about your English, it's much much better than my Dutch. Your website looks very interesting but you have to forgive my ignorance of your language sad smiley

Thank you so much for the transcript of the interview. I need to reread it but in the meantime let me ask you the one billion dollar question. I do value your opinion since you appear to have been following the story for a long time.

Here goes:
Where, in your opinion, is the original panel of Just Judges?

Thanks again,

grinning smiley Hi, Andante,

It is very complicated and I will answer You a little bit more tomorrow .

But here my answer to your question :

In my opinion the Judges were finding back before 1945 in Wetteren .

I have a witness : the cousin from Arsène Goedertier, who was Director of the art academy of Wetteren and allso the president of the organisation of the Belgian professional artists .
He was telling to one of the teachers of the academy that he in 1945 , after "the bringing back" by the forces of the army of alliance (- end of WW II ,) who had find the Retabel of the adoration of the Lamb back, with many other treasures of Europe in the salt-mines of Allt Aussee , Austria .

The Retabel was braught back to Brussels and given to the Prince-Regent from Belgium .
We allso had on this moment the king-story .....

The adoration of the Lamb was exposed in the royal palace during two weeks in september and was then for examination in the Museum of Art where the did allso research about it (x-ray etc.... .

After that, there was a short exposition in oktober 1945 . It was there that Professor Cooremans , Director of the Museum and leader from the examinationteam, had told to José Goedertier (cousin) and the Egytologue Capart that they might be sure that te original Judges were there .

On these moment, Belgium was in the struggle for the king Leopold III - question and they were allready fighting in the streets - and the union of Belgium was in danger ... . So they were agree not to speak about the hole story .

José Goedertier had said to Prof. Cooremans director from the Royal Museum of Art : " What shall I think about it . I aggree that it is not the moment to bring the name Goedertier back in the picture .....
There is happening so much more then
There is a lot more! but I had to go to sleep now, because it is here 3 h in the night and I am very tired .

I have a lot of proofs of the return ....... following tor morrow perhaps ..... Maybe I have to whrigt my book in English for you grinning smiley

So good night and

warm greetings from Maria-Vilain

I need much more time to explain , will You give me this time please ?

XXX smiling smiley

Hi Vilain,

This is a fascinating subject, isn't it?. Please, take all the time you need. I will definitely be here to listen (or read smiling smiley ) when you're ready.

I can allreaydy say that in 1934, year of the thieft, ther were 3 groups interested in it :
the freemasonry
the Germans Hitler and Himmler .

I have lately receaved a message from Ieper (town where all the graves are from soldiers who were killed -mostly during the WW II)
Each day the are playing "the last post for them" it's a ceremony .

The familie who had send here message to me in Wetteren had told me that their father , when he was young and unmarried, was a friend of one,who wasn't a good person ,and who lived in a villa between Wetteren and Schellebelle .

The father was blind and was living then in Schellebelle .

He allways had told to his wife and children that this person - a certain Lievens - had told him that he was one of the thiefs from the two panels .
He told him allso : that the panels were oringinal stolen for America, but if the time was come , they couldn't do it .
So they had decided to contact the bisschop of Gent . The case he said should be soon have a solution .

To prove that what he said to the blind was true , he let him feel on a packet who stand in his livingroom .
These packet must have been St. John the Baptist, who was deposed a day later in the Nord-Station in Brussels . One person had seen this man with the packet on the earliest train to Brussel .

note :

(These person Lievens was find dead in his villa a few months after the dead of Arsène Goedertier . The thelephone was fallen and the walls were full of blood . In his left hand he had an eg .....
Official reason of dead : blooding stomac .... real reason : murdered .....

No research . He was allready dead about two weeks when he was finded ....

perhaps allso Goedertier ???? The doctor who was given him help by his dead was not a simpel doctor , but he was a surgeon .... and he did not aggree political with Goedertier . On the end of his life he had allso trubbles with the Justice ..... old patients were token from there graves to be examinated ... )end of the note...

St. John was back and a few days later , there was a promise that the milion Francs should be given in the house of a priest in Antwerpen .

But then it was going wrong : instead of the million Frans, there was only 25.000 FR included and a letter with the signature from the bisschop Coppieters .
In this letter there was a promise that another 225.000 FR should be payed, by the giving-back of the Judges .

The bisschop prefered to pay the milion, but the Minister Janson and the Procureur-officer from Justice of Ghent De Heem - both freemasons , decided not to give this promessed million .."we are not in America they said, we don't affaires with thiefs" and so, they whrote this letter, making a false signature from the bisschop and allso making a valse stamp in sealing wax .......

So it was the freemasonnery who did make that the Judges not could be returned ....

For Arsène Goedertier, who was a friend of the bisschop, it was the bisschop who has broken his given word ......

The mystery all settles in the war between church and freemassonnery (Only in Belgium these organisation had become anticlerical ....

There is something that not may coming out ...... there are plenty of messages in the Adoration of the Lamb and they have something to do with the Grail and surely allso the blooline of Jezus , who is clamed for instance allso by the Stuart-family ...... (source Gardner)

O, by the way America's presidents ware all freemassons and the symbol is allso on the dollar ....... smiling smiley in long past centuries they had offered the crown of America to the Stewarts, living at this time in Belgium .
One of the family was allso the leader of the "resistance" in WW II (40-45) .

I would like to place here the orininal Judjes and the copy made by Vanderveken , but I am not sure that thes is going to work with this forum ......

You can take a look allready in my book page 69 -but the are in black and white .

I try to send it in colours tomorrow .

I had to go to sleep know, because I need it .

So 'good night"


Or else, Maria, you can send it to me by email...

Thanks Olimiek . It did not work . I will send it know XXX Vilain

hanks Vilain, that is extremely interesting.

I am vaguely aware of the Americans' interest in the Just Judges. I know of OSS, its director William Donovan and his Art Looting Investigation Unit (ALIU). I know they were in some way involved as far as van Eyck's panel was concerned (however, this must have been after 1944; I have no idea who the players were before that)

And you're right, The Ghent Altarpiece appears to hold a lot of secrets..

Ps. Thanks for your pm, I hope you got mine.

I can allreaydy tell you that there was an American in 1927so long before the tieft in 1934 , his name was as far as I know Alan Burreoughs . He was coming to Ghent and had taken RX-foto's from the whole Retabel the adoration of the Lamb - from all the panels of this retabel .

He has whroten a book about all the panels in these book ...... exept about the panel of the Judges .......

I have an X-ray from the judges in 1927 . I will send him as soon as I can .
There is alsso an autorsright on it, because it is still not published . I can't yet remember the name of the professor and the university , but I will search him . It is a Dutch prof. who lives there . Perhaps these year there was the finely publishing of the X-ray's ?????

They had tryed to make me believe that the Judges ware not in this book, because of the bad quality perhaps of the X-ray, but that can not be true, because he is made in the same conditions of all the others .... So I do'nt believe them ..... grinning smiley

I hope Olimiek may have now the fotographs of the original Judjes of Van Eyck and the kopy makes by Vanderveken .

Then I can continue my story about it . OK ????

You must know allso that the State of Belgium had been trying to "forget" all about the story of The Adoration of the Lamb .

In "The chronicle from Belgium, where all the importent facts are discribed , more then 100 researchers had nothing to tell about the amazyng story from the Lam Gods..... then that it was painted by Van Eyck en placed into the kathedral of Ghent .
As you take a look to the names of the reseaerchers, then it can't be possible in a normal way .....

I am furious about this and have whrote a letter allso to Justice and the media (cfr my book)

Allright then...have had some troubles with the 2nd picture, this is the best I could make of it...

(IMG:[img421.imageshack.us]) (IMG:[img144.imageshack.us])

----------original ------------------------------------- copy-------------------

A new game on this forum: find the seven differences grinning smiley

Sadly all the other links seem to be dead. It was an amazing forum and it is very sad it went off the air. I wonder if anyone saved the threads ? Maria Vilain was a 75 year old women who had first hand knowledge of what had happened to the panel "The Just Judges" and she wrote about it on this board. Karl hammer also wrote a book entitled Satan's Song about this mystery.



And then again there was always this angle:


Don Barone

Cherry Picking - If you can't debate your opponents on the substance of the issue, crush them on the minor details.
Subject Author Posted

The Ghent Altarpiece

Khazar-khum June 26, 2018 03:23PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Rick Baudé June 26, 2018 04:28PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Don Barone June 26, 2018 05:54PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Don Barone June 26, 2018 06:39PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Khazar-khum June 27, 2018 04:31PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Don Barone June 27, 2018 04:51PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Don Barone June 27, 2018 05:56PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Khazar-khum June 28, 2018 04:49PM

**Moderation note**

Hermione January 05, 2020 06:42AM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Don Barone June 27, 2018 06:08PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Don Barone June 27, 2018 06:16PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Khazar-khum June 28, 2018 04:52PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Don Barone June 28, 2018 06:34PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Don Barone June 26, 2018 06:54PM

Re: The Ghent Altarpiece

Don Barone June 26, 2018 06:59PM

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login