help museums implement the resolution adopted by the ICOM
General Assembly in Barcelona on 6th July 2001, the UNESCO-ICOM
Information Centre has put together a file of resources
on the issue of spoliation of Jewish cultural property during
the Second World War.
information below includes references for national and international
directives for museums concerning the identification and
return of looted or stolen Jewish property. Databases of
objects which were looted or have disappeared are also listed,
along with several examples of individual initiatives by
museums to facilitate the task of establishing the provenance
of certain items in their collections.
vast body of information is available on this topic and
this file does not purport to be exhaustive. The Centre
would be happy to receive any additional information or
resources, particularly relating to the policies of museums
on this issue.
20th General Assembly of ICOM, meeting in Barcelona, Spain,
on 6 July 2001
Aware that the Nazi regime, in power from 1933 to
1945, orchestrated and enabled during the implementation
of the Holocaust, the misappropriation of art and other
cultural property through means such as theft, confiscation,
coercive transfer, looting and pillage,
Acknowledging that despite efforts following World
War II to undertake restitution of misappropriated property,
many objects were never returned to their original owners
or legal successors,
Concerned that such objects may have subsequently
come into the custody of museums,
Recalling ICOM's Recommendations
Concerning the Return of Works of Art Belonging to Jewish
Owners issued by the Executive Council
in December 1998,
Noting that museum professionals, other individuals
and organisations have gathered to establish international
principles for addressing the problem of misappropriated
objects, such as those contained in the Washington
Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art,
December 1998, the Vilnius
Forum Declaration, October 2000, and
Association of Museums' Guidelines Concerning the Unlawful
Appropriation of Objects during the Nazi Era,
all museums to encourage action by their national governments
to ensure full implementation of the provisions of such
documents, which establish international principles for
addressing the problem of misappropriated objects.
Guidelines and Legislation
after the Second World War, laws were passed in European
countries concerning the return of art works to their original
owners. But despite this legislation, many art works remained
unclaimed and were deposited with national collections.
In the late 1990s, following a number of international conferences
on the theme of Nazi looting of art works, the issue regained
prominence and requests were made for art works to be returned,
including by museums. This led to a resolution being adopted
by the Council of Europe in 1999; and some countries passed
new laws or issued directives for museums on the identification
and return of art works stolen during the Second World War.
Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets
Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated
Art, released in connection with the Washington Conference
on Holocaust-Era Assets, Washington, D.C., December 3, 1998.
Resolution 1205 (1999)1. Looted Jewish Cultural Property
/ Parliamentary Assembly. (Extract from the Official Gazette
of the Council of Europe, November 1999).
Text adopted on 4 November 1999 by the Standing Committee,
acting on behalf of the Assembly.
Federal law of 4 December 1998 concerning the return
of works of art from Austrian federal museums and collections.
In: "Federal Law Gazette" 1998/I/181.
Law No. 212/2000. Act of 23 June 2000 to mitigate certain
property-related injustices caused by the Holocaust and
to amend Act No. 243/1992, to regulate certain issues relating
to Act No. 229/1991 regarding the ownership of land and
other agricultural property as amended by Act No. 92/199.
Recommandations de la mission Mattéoli concernant la restitution
des oeuvres d'art spoliées. (Recommendations of the Mattéoli
Mission concerning the restitution of looted works of art).
Available only in French.
Statement by the Federal Government, the Länder (Federal
States) and the national associations of local authorities
on the tracing and return of Nazi-confiscated art, especially
Jewish property of 14 December 1999.
The Netherlands Advisory Committee on the assessment of
restitution applications for items of cultural value and
Second World War, known as the Restitutions Committee, was
set up by Decree of the State Secretary for the Ministry
of Education, Culture and Science (OCenW) dated 16 November
2001 for a period of three years. Under this Decree, the
Restitutions Committee has been given the task of providing
the State Secretary for OCenW with independent advice in
respect of individual applications for the restitution of
items of cultural value that the owner involuntarily lost
possession of, due to circumstances directly related to
the Nazi regime.
Both the 2002 and 2003 reports are available on line at:
Russian Federal Law on Cultural Valuables Displaced to
the U.S.S.R. as a Result of World War II and Located in
the Territory of the Russian Federation. Federal Law
N 64-FZ of April 15, 1998.
Spoliation of Works of Art During the Holocaust and World
War II Period. Progress report on UK Museums' Provenance
Research for the Period 1933-1945: Statement of Principles
and Proposed Actions : In June 1998 the National Museum
Directors' Conference (NMDC) established a working group
to examine the issues surrounding the spoliation of art
during the Holocaust and World War II period and drew up
a statement of principles and proposed actions for member
institutions. The statement was adopted by the NMDC in November
1998 and presented to the Washington Conference on Holocaust
Assets in December 1998.
States of America
Concerning the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects During
the Nazi Era. American Association of Museums. Washington,
DC : AAM, 1999. 5 p. (approved by AAM and AAM/ICOM in November
of Art Museum Directors. Taskforce on the Spoliation of
Art During the Nazi/World War II Era (1933-45): Statement
of Principles and Guidelines.
Databases on Art Looted
from Jewish Owners
Art Loss Register is a private
database of stolen art and antiquities. It includes works
of art looted during World War II which are identified separately.
The Art Loss Register "is committed to working with the
Commission for Art Recovery of the World Jewish Congress
and the New York State Banking Department Holocaust Claims
Processing Office in order to build a database as comprehensive
as possible of Holocaust and World War II art losses". Claimants
are able to register a wartime theft at no charge, but there
is a fee to search the database.
Museum Provenance List is a compilation of museums that
have listed works of art in their collections of uncertain
or dubious provenance (between 1933 and 1945). This website
attempts to list the artworks in one place in so that claimants
do not have to search through several different websites.
It is necessary to subscribe.
Holocaust Art Restitution Project (HARP) was founded
under the auspices of the Klutznick National Jewish Museum
and is located within the museum in Washington DC. It aims
to document cultural losses during the Holocaust and to
establish a website database, but this has yet to be set
Republic. Restitution-Art, database of Works of Art from
the Property of Victims of the Holocaust. Created by
the Czech Ministry of Culture and the Moravian Museum. It
does not provide photographs of the works of art. Searches
are carried out by title, artist or the name of the current
owner, which can be the museum housing the work.
Musées Nationaux Récupération (MNR). The Direction des
musées de France has created a database of the 2000 art
works classified as MNR (national museums recovery programme)
which have been stored in national museums, provincial museums
and the Mobilier national (national furniture collection)
since 1949. A catalogue of these works, consisting of descriptions
of each art work accompanied by illustrations, has been
accessible on line since November 1996.
Schloss Collection. Non Restituted Works Looted 1943-1998.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published on
its website the catalogue of Dutch and Flemish art stolen
from Adolphe Schloss' collection during World War II. Adolphe
Schloss was an internationally renowned art collector with
one of the last great collections of Dutch art in 19th century
France. The online catalogue only lists the works not restituted
by July 1st 1997. The research may be made on the whole
collection and by the name of painters.
Lost Art Internet Database. This is a project of the Koordinierungsstelle für Kulturgutverluste, Germany’s central office for the documentation of lost cultural property set up jointly by the German Government and the Länder. The Lost Art Database registers cultural objects which as a result of persecution under the Nazi dictatorship and/or the Second World War were relocated, moved or seized, especially from Jewish owners. Documentation includes search reports of lost cultural assets by institutions and private persons as well as found–object reports from German and international institutions and private persons.
Looted Art - First Internet Research Catalogue (Saxony-Anhalt).
The catalogue lists the losses in museums, archives and
libraries. By clicking on the section devoted to museums
you obtain a list of works looted from the museums of the
region of Saxony-Anhalt.
A database of World War II losses was set up at the Hungarian
National Gallery of Budapest following the decision of the
Hungarian Restitution Committee in 1992. The objectives
are to describe artworks lost between 1938 and 1945, as
well as artworks smuggled out of Hungary between 1945 and
1949. The estimated number of references to lost artworks
is about 3 million, of which 170,000 have already been entered
into the database. The data is stored on CDs.
Contact: Laszlo Mrávol, Art Historian - Magyar Nemzeti
Galéria - Budavári Palota, P.O. Box 31, 1250 Budapest, Hungary.
Tel. (36 1) 375 7533. Fax (36 1) 375 8898.
Art Treasures Removed from Italy during the War Period,
1940-1945. In October 1995, the Italian Government supervised
the publication of a catalogue entitled Treasures Untraced
- An Inventory of the Italian Treasures Lost during the
Second World War, available in Italian, English and
German. This catalogue lists over 2,500 objects and has
been put online on the website of the International Commission
for Art Works. It includes two sections: Treasures Untraced
/ Treasures Retraced.
Wartime Losses: Polish Paintings. The electronic version
of the catalogue has been made possible through the generosity
of the Polish American Congress. It is the first of a planned
series of catalogues. It comprises 440 oil and pastel paintings,
watercolours from the 17th to the 20th century. It provides
an index of painters and an index of owners.
Kingdom. UK Museums' Provenance Research. It provides
a list of works with incomplete provenance in national and
non-national museums and galleries.
Kingdom. The Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural
Property 1933-1945 provides a comprehensive website
containing internationally available information on cultural
property looted between 1933-1945. The website includes
a unique database of looted objects and of objects under
investigation in museums throughout the world. Other information,
such as government reports, claimant information, and research
resources is available and organised by country.
States of America. Nazi Era Provenance. The American
Association of Museums lists here the websites of museums
which in compliance with AAM's guidelines make available
to the public a list of works of art in their collections
that have gaps in provenance for the period 1933-1945.
Provenance Research Projects
following museums have implemented provenance research projects
for works of art of questionable origin featured in their
National Gallery of Victoria (Australia)
Part of its online collection has been made public. It has
dedicated a web page to its Provenance Research Project,
but there is no specific section for works of art of uncertain
provenance in the catalogue of the collection online.
Information on the museum's policy concerning restitution
of Jewish property.
The Gemäldegalerie has published the complete catalogue
of its reunified collections, a catalogue of artworks lost
during the war (Dokumentation der Verluste, 1995)
and a catalogue of foreign-owned paintings (Dokumentation
des Fremdbesitzes, Verzeichnis in der Galerie eingelargerten
Bilder unbekannter Herkunft, 1999). However, these catalogues
are not available for consultation on the Internet.
Contact: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer
Kulturbesitz, Kulturforum im Tiergarten, 10785 Berlin, Germany.
Tel. (49 30) 2662 101. Fax (49 30) 2662 103. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
In compliance with AAM guidelines and with the statement
of principles and guidelines of AAMD, ten museums in the
country have been working to make Nazi-era provenance information
on their collections available to the public and list works
that have gaps in provenance for the years 1933-1945. These
are: Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art,
Harvard University Art Museums, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los
Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art,
MoMA, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, National Gallery of Art,
Seattle Art Museum.
Additional Sources of Information and
following institutions are currently working on the topic
and can provide further information or assistance.
for Looted Art in Europe (ECLA)
Catherine House, 76 Gloucester Place,
London, England W1U 6HJ, United Kingdom.
Tel. (44 20) 7487 3401. Fax (44 20) 7487 4211.
ECLA is an expert organisation which assists claimants to
locate looted art and pursues claims on their behalf.
- Abteilung für Museen und Bibliotheken, Sicherheit
Hofburg, Säulenstiege, A-1010 Wien.
Tel. (43 1) 53415-273, 53415-217. Fax (43 1) 53415-252.
Nottendorfer Gasse 2, A-1030 Wien.
Tel. (43 1) 79540 180. Fax (43 1) 79540 186.
(information also available in English)
Commission d'étude sur le sort des biens des membres de
la communauté juive de Belgique spoliés ou délaissés pendant
la guerre 1940-1945.
Boulevard Bischoffsheim, 38, 1000 Brussels.
Tel. (32 2) 214 0910. Fax (32 2) 214 0911.
Commission pour l'indemnisation des victimes de spoliation
intervenues du fait des législations antisémites en vigueur
pendant l'Occupation (CIVS)
1, rue de la Manutention, 75116 Paris.
Tel. (33 1) 5652 8500. Fax (33 1) 5652 8773.
der Bundesregierung für Angelegenheiten der Kultur und der
Medien Referat K 13, Rückführung von Kulturgut
Graurheindorfer Strasse 198, D-53117 Bonn.
Tel. (49 1888) 681-0. Fax (49 1888) 681-3821.
Koordinierungsstelle für Kulturgutverluste
Eine Einrichtung des Bundes und der Länder beim Kultusministerium des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt
D- 39114 Magdeburg
Tel. (49) (0)391 567 3891 Fax (49) (0)391 567 3899
Cultural Heritage Directorate
Hungarian Art Restitution Project
1053 Budapest, Magyar u. 40, 1461 Budapest Pf. 211.
Tel. 266 0027. Fax 327 7702.
Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes Remembrance
P.O.B. 3477, Jerusalem 91034.
Tel. 02 644 3400. Fax 02 644 3443.
Commissione Interministeriale per le Opere d'Arte
Via degli Astalli 3/A, 00186 Roma.
Tel. (39 06) 679 2871. Fax (39 06) 679 2880.
International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes
of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes
Gedemino ave. 11, Vilnius 2039.
Tel. (370 2) 66 38 04. Fax (370 2) 66 38 05.
Cultuurbezit / Cultural Heritage Inspectorate
Prinsessegracht 31, 2514 AP Den Haag.
Tel. (31 70) 302 8120. Fax (31 70) 365 1914.
Prins Willem Alexanderhof 20
NL-2595 DE Den Haag
Tel. (31 70) 3028120 Fax (31 70) 3651914
indépendante d'Experts - Suisse - Seconde Guerre mondiale
Esther Tisa, Postfach 259, CH-3000 Bern 6.
Tel. 31 325 1195. Fax 31 325 1238
Office fédéral de la culture, Bureau de l'art spolié
Hallwylstrasse 15, CH-3003 Bern.
Tel. (41 31) 322 0325. Fax (41 31) 322 9273.
Advisory Panel c/o Department for Culture, Media and Sport
204 Cockspur Street, London, England SW1Y 5DH.
Tel. (44 20) 7211 6200.
Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945
76 Gloucester Place London, England W1U 6HJ.
Tel. (44 20) 7487 3401. Fax: +44 (0)20 7487 4211.
States of America
of Art Museum Directors
41 East 65th Street New York, NY, 10021
Tel. (1 212) 249 4423. Fax (1 212) 535 5039.
States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington, DC 20024-2150.
Tel. (1 202) 479 9732. Fax (1 202) 488 2693.
Holocaust Claims Processing Office of the New York State
One State Street, New York, NY 10004-1417.
Tel. (1 212) 709 5583. Fax (1 212) 709 5592. (800) 695-3318
The Project for the Documentation of Wartime Cultural Losses
(Cultural Property Research Foundation)
CPRF is a non-profit organisation based in New York. The
Project "has been formed to gather and make available information
relating to works of art, archives, and other types of cultural
property displaced as a consequence of war. The main focus
of the research is the period of World War II although other
conflicts are also considered relevant".
for Art Recovery. World Jewish Congress
767 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4600, New York, NY 10153.
State Department Information. Holocaust issues
US National Archives and Records Administration
Holocaust-Era Assets: Records and Research at the NARA
on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (1951)
The Claims Conference has had several primary missions,
in particularly to recover unclaimed Jewish property.
Scientific Conference on Restitution of Cultural Values:
the Problems of Return and Joint Use (Legal, Scientific
and Moral Aspects), Minsk, Belarus, (19-20 June 1997).
This conference was attended by delegates from seven countries
(Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia, Ukraine
and the United Kingdom). It focused mainly on the issue
of looting as it related to Russia and the other CIS (Commonwealth
of Independent States) countries. The conference produced
a final declaration calling on the CIS countries in particular
to strengthen legislation and create the requisite institutions
to deal with this question.
Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets (30 November-3 December
International Conference on the spoliation of Jewish property
during World War II. Eleven "Principles With Respect to
Nazi-Confiscated Art" have been adopted. The proceedings
are available on:
Or order from: U.S. Government Printing Office (Prix : US$61.00).
Tel. (1 202) 512 1800. Fax (1 202) 512 2250)/
International Forum on Holocaust Era Looted Cultural Assets
(3-5 October 2000)
Proceedings are available for consultation on Internet:
For more information, contact: International Commission
for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet
Occupation Regimes in Lithuania
Gedemino ave. 11, Vilnius 2039, Lithuania.
Tel. (370 2) 66 38 04. Fax (370 2) 66 38 05.
Museum Security Network Mailing List has created a page
dedicated to World War II and the looted art problem.
Getty Research Library holds documents relevant to spoliation
of art during World War II. It has put its resources on
Nazi-era assets on the Web:
Art Institute of Chicago's Ryerson Library has compiled
a bibliography and list of websites related to the search
and recovery of lost European works of art.
University of Chicago Library presents a bibliography on:
Law-Related Resources on Nazi Gold and Other Holocaust
Assets, Swiss Banks during World War II, and Dormant Accounts.
Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal Project
The Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal provides a searchable
registry of objects in U.S. museum collections that changed
hands in Continental Europe during the Nazi era (1933-1945).
abridged version has been published in: ICOM News, Vol.
54, No. 4, 2001. ©