Nazi era art to arrive in June and go on display in Bern
The Local 27 April 2017
click for story
Bern museum awaits works from Gurlitt art collection in June
AP 26 April 2017
click for story
Nazi-Looted Painting Returns to Paris Almost 80 Years After Theft
Newsweek 26 April 2017
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Owner Withdraws Nazi-Looted Painting From Auction in Austria
New York Times 26 April 2017
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Collection Gurlitt: des œuvres arriveront en juin
Tribune de Genève 26 April 2017
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Seller of Nazi-Looted Old Master Yanks Painting From Auction at Last Minute
Artnet 26 April 2017
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Nazi-looted painting back in Paris; display will alternate with University of Oklahoma museum
NewsOK 25 April 2017
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Owner of Nazi-looted painting pulls artwork from auction
CBC 25 April 2017
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Oklahoma lawmaker criticizes OU’s handling of painting stolen by Nazis
KFOR 25 April 2017
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A painting stolen by Nazis is up for auction — despite a Jewish family’s demand for its return
Washington Post 24 April 2017
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Nazi-looted painting to be auctioned as owners' heirs fail to halt sale
The Guardian 23 April 2017
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Poland recovers artwork looted in World War II
Radio Poland 22 April 2017
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Germany to appeal US case involving Nazi art sale
AFP 22 April 2017
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German group appeals decision to allow lawsuit over Nazi art theft claims
Reuters 21 April 2017
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Art provenance cases reveal complexities of Germany’s record on restitution
New York Jewish Week 20 April 2017
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The Nazis didn't just burn Jewish books - they stole millions, too
Haaretz 20 April 2017
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Websites and Resources

Looted Cultural Assets
Four German libraries - the Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Library, the Freie Universität Berlin University Library, the Potsdam University Library, and the Berlin Central and Regional Library - have created a joint website with the provenance details of over 12,000 books which may be looted. For more information click here.
click to visit
UNESCO Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws
Provides access to national laws currently in force (with translations), import/export certificates, contact details for national authorities and addresses of official national websites dedicated to the protection of the cultural heritage.
click to visit
Dutch Museums Provenance Research
Results of 'Museum Acquisitions from 1933' project showing 41 Dutch museums are in possession of at least 139 items with 'problematic' origins.
click to visit
Swiss Looted Art Portal
Opened in June 2013, this government-run site provides details of museums' provenance research, advice on making enquiries, research and claims and links to relevant databases and archives in Switzerland and beyond.
click to visit
WGA-Files - Akten der Wieder- gutmachungsämter von Berlin - Case Records of the Berlin Restitution Offices
Digitised restitution case records of the Berlin Restitution Offices held in the Landesarchiv Berlin, consisting of the record group B Rep 025, Wiedergutmachungsämter von Berlin, containing more than 800,000 files.
click to visit
European Sales Catalogues 1930-1945 Heidelberg University
3,000 digitised auction catalogues including both German-speaking countries and the countries of occupied Europe - Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland - and including every genre of cultural object, from paintings to tapestries to silver and books. Provides the entire texts of auction catalogues. Searchable by auction house, artist, work of art, etc.
click to visit
German Sales Catalogs 1930–1945 at the Getty
More than 2,000 German language sales catalogues published between 1930 and 1945 including more than 230,000 individual auction sales records for paintings, sculptures, and drawings only. Searchable by artist name and nationality, lot title, buyer or seller’s name, city in which the sale occurred, type of subject matter and other fields. Provides only individual lot details, and links to Heidelberg for the full catalogue.  
click to visit
Hermann Goering Collection
Contains 4,263 paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries and other art objects, purchased or acquired from confiscated property, many available for restitution today.
click to visit
International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property
The Portal provides for the first time digital access to millions of cultural property records from the National Archives of the US, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Ukraine, France and other archival sources.  
click to visit
Polish Wartime Losses
Launched on 2 February 2011 by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and including missing paintings from public and private collections by Raphael, Van Dyck, Rubens and others, reflecting the 70% of Poland's art lost to the Nazis.
click to visit
ERR Database
The Nazi records and photographs of the looting of more than 20,000 objects from Jews in France and Belgium. Click here for background details.
click to visit
Galerie Heinemann
c 43,500 paintings and c 13,000 persons and institutions associated with their acquisition or sale by the Munich art dealer Galerie Heinemann from 1890 to 1939.  Click here for the full background.
click to visit
Hungary on Trial: Herzog Collection
The history of the family, a copy of the July 2010 lawsuit filed in New York and photos of the artworks.
click to visit
'Degenerate Art' / Aktion 'Entartete Kunst' website
The fate of more than 21,000 artworks condemned as “degenerate” by the Nazis and seized from German museums in 1937.  Click here for background details. 
click to visit
Central Collecting Point Munich Database
Index cards and photographs of the 170,000 works of art collected up by the Allies at the end of the war and inventoried from 1945 till 1951.
click to visit
Hitler's Linz Collection
A searchable, illustrated catalogue of the 4,731 works of art found by the Allies in the Linz Collection, with provenance details. Click here for detailed information.
click to visit
The Austrian National Fund
Hundreds of looted objects in Austrian public collections available for restitution.
click to visit

Conferences and Events

Collected, Traded, Stolen, Lecture Series, Institut für Stadtgeschichte, Frankfurt, 22 May 2017

Lecture on the art world network of Hermann Voss: the Wiesbaden Gemaeldegalerie and its relationships with Frankfurt museums and art dealers, part of the eight month lecture series. For full details, click here.

Accepting and Holding Objects “in Trust” – an International and Interdisciplinary Perspective, Conference, Vienna University Library, 2-4 May 2017

Programme now published. Registration by 30 April. For full details, click here

A Question of Provenance: Holocaust-era Art, Research, and Restitution, Evening Program at the Smithsonian, Washington DC, 10 May 2017

With Jane Milosch, Meike Hoffmann, Sophie Lillie, Shlomit Steinberg, Yehudit Shendar and Andrea Baresel-Brand. Full details here.

Rose Valland Institute art project at Documenta 14, Neue Galerie, Kassel, Germany 10 June-17 September 2017

An independent interdisciplinary project by German artist Maria Eichhorn which researches and documents the expropriation of Europe’s Jewish population as well as its past and continuing impact, Eichhorn writing 'It also has to be assumed that further undiscovered works from the Gurlitt estate exist outside Germany, and that there must be still more such plundered goods hidden within Germany. It seems obvious that there are stolen items in the possession of German families, as well as land and property obtained under duress or illegally.' For further details click here.

Art in Law in Art Conference, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 4-6 July 2017.

An interdisciplinary conference investigating the broad themes of how law sees visual art, and how visual art sees law.  Hosted by the University of Western Australia law school. For further details, click here.

Textile Erwerbungen und Sammlungs-strategien europäischer Museen in der NS-Zeit - Textile acquisitions and collection strategies of European museums in the Nazi era, Conference, Deutsches Textilmuseum Krefeld, 7-8 September 2017

For full details, click here.

Orphaned Property in Europe Workshop, Rose Valland Institute, Kassel, Germany, 11-12 September 2017

The Rose Valland Institute art project, initiated by German artist Maria Eichhorn within the context of Documenta 14 at the Neue Galerie in Kassel from 10 June to 17 September 2017, is holding a workshop focusing on the topic of Orphaned Property in Europe. Call for papers by 5 May 2017.  For full details, click here.

The Transfer of Jewish-owned Cultural Objects in the Italian Alpe Adria Region, Workshop, Lucca, Italy, 20-21 September 2017

For full details, click here.


Restitution of Cultural Property: A Hard Case – Theory of Argumentation – Philosophy of Law
April 2017
Kamil Zeidler.
read more
Unsere Werte? Provenienzforschung im Dialog: Leopold-Hoesch-Museum & Wallraf-Richartz-Museum
March 2017
Ed. Renate Goldmann.
read more
The Fortunate Ones
February 2017
Ellen Umansky. A novel about a Soutine painting linking parents who perished with their child who survived.
read more
Nazi-Looted Art and Its Legacies
February 2017
Andreas Huyssen, Anson Rabinbach, Avinoam Shalem (Eds). The contributors explore the continuities of art dealerships and auction houses from the Nazi period to the Federal Republic and take stock of the present political and cultural debate over the handling of the Gurlitt artwork.
read more
The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance
February 2017
Anders Rydell. Following the librarians seeking to restore the millions of plundered books to their rightful owners.
read more
Raub von Kulturgut: Der Zugriff des NS-Staats auf jüdischen Kunstbesitz in München und seine Nachgeschichte
November 2016
Jan Schleusener.
read more
Cross-border restitution claims of art looted in armed conflicts and wars and alternatives to court litigations
July 2016
Marc-André Renold. A study commissioned and supervised by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee.
read more
The Art of Suppression: Confronting the Nazi Past in Histories of the Visual and Performing Arts
June 2016
Pamela M. Potter.
read more
Proceedings of 'Plundered, But By Whom' Conference, Prague 21-2 October 2015
April 2016
Papers given at the conference organised by the Czech Documentation Centre for Property Transfers of Cultural Assets of WWII Victims.
read more
Who Owns Bruno Schulz? The Changing Postwar Fortunes of Works of Art by Jewish Artists Murdered in Nazi-Occupied Poland
March 2016
Nawojka Cieślińska-Lobkowicz . About the double standard in Poland which urges other countries to undertake research and restitution but avoids this within Poland, although after the war, national institutions and private individuals often became the new owners of objects that had once belonged to private people or organizations persecuted by the Nazis. In the majority of cases, this affected Jewish individuals, Jewish communities and Jewish institutions.
read more
Hitlers Kunsthändler Hildebrand Gurlitt 1895 - 1956. Die Biographie
March 2016
Meike Hofmann, Nicola Kuhn.
read more
Rebuilding a Destroyed World: Rudolf Beres – A Jewish Art Collector in Interwar Kraków
February 2016
Agnieszka Yass-Alston .
read more
Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books
February 2016
Mark Glickman.
read more
Restitution von NS-Raubkunst
January 2016
Barbara Vogel (Hrsg.). Essays on the difficulties and failings of restitution in Germany from historical, scientific, art historical, legal and political points of view, edited by Barbara Vogel.
read more
Der Kunstkenner. Max J. Friedländer. Biografische Skizzen.
December 2015
Simon Elson.
read more
Paul Graupe (1881-1953). Ein Berliner Kunsthändler zwischen Republik, Nationalsozialismus und Exil (A Berlin art dealer caught between the Republic, National Socialism and Exile)
December 2015
Patrick Golenia, Kristina Kratz-Kessemeier and Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont . Patrick Golenia, Kristina Kratz-Kessemeier and Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont write the biography of Paul Graupe, the Berlin auctioneer who lived between two extremes in Nazi Germany.
read more
The Indelible Presence of the Gurlitt Estate
November 2015
Adam Szymczyk in conversation with Alexander Alberro, Maria Eichhorn, and Hans Haacke. A conversation between artists and art historians on the indelible presence of the Gurlitt estate in the history of Germany in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as an allegory that awaits conclusio and as a changing picture of the processes of revealing and concealing truth as they become visible and comprehensible in the history of art.
read more
M.N.R. (Musées Nationaux récupération): Les tableaux de la guerre : oeuvres récuperées en Allemagne après la Second Guerre mondiale
October 2015
Guillaume Kazerouni assisté de Régis Couillard et Gwenaël Prost. A catalogue of the twelve MNR works of art held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes in France.
read more

Welcome to

This site contains two fully searchable databases.

The Information Database contains information and documentation from forty nine countries, including laws and policies, reports and publications, archival records and resources, current cases and relevant websites.

The Object Database contains details of over 25,000 objects of all kinds – paintings, drawings, antiquities, Judaica, etc – looted, missing and/or identified from over fifteen countries.

All images on the site are published under fair use conditions for the purpose of criticism and research.

For a list of Essential Website Links, showing all key research sites and resources,click here.

For details of the most recent international resources, click here and also see below, Online Resources and Case News.

To subscribe to our looted art newsletter, click here.


31 March 2017: The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rules against the German motion to dismiss the claim in the US courts for the Guelph Treasure

The U.S. District Court ruled on 31 March against the motion by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Prussian Cultural Property Foundation to dismiss the suit brought against them by the claimants in the Guelph Treasure case on several grounds including that they are entitled to sovereign immunity. The Court ruled that the claims can proceed and can be considered a taking of property in violation of international law. To read the ruling, click here.

16 March 2017: Flemish Culture Minister Sven Gatz agrees desirability of Belgium publishing all looted works of art in its public collections on a central website

Following publication of an article in February by Belgian journalist Geert Sels revealing that 78 looted works of art returned to Belgium after the war remain unpublished, the Flemish Culture Minister was chellenged in the Flemish Parliament to investigate and publish all looted works of art in public ownership. Minister Gatz said he had asked his administration to assess options and that a central website for the whole of Belgium was the best option. To read the parliamentary questions and answers, click here

The Artsy Podcast, No. 29: Why Returning Nazi-Looted Art Isn’t So Simple

Artsy write that over the course of World War II, the Nazi party stole hundreds of thousands of works of art. Today, more than seven decades after the end of the war, there are still some 100,000 artworks that are missing. In this episode, they discuss the restitution of Nazi-looted art—that is, the ways in which these works are returned (or, in some cases, not returned) to the heirs of the original owners. To listen click here.

Recent Lawsuits

Copies of lawsuits filed in various cases, stages and jurisdictions are provided on this site. Cases with recent filings include the claim on 3 March 2017 by the Lewenstein heirs for the Kandinsky painting owned by Munich's Bavarian Landesbank, the claim by the heirs of Alice Leffmann for the Picasso painting 'The Actor' in the Metropolitan Museum NY, the claim for the Guelph Treasure against the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Federal Republic of Germany, and the claim by the heirs of Fritz Grunbaum for a Schiele drawing owned by Richard Nagy. To view the filings, click here.

3 March 2017: Dossier of 78 paintings in Belgian museums returned from Germany after the war

The 78 paintings were returned to Belgium after the war but Belgium has never officially published their identities nor undertaken full research in order to return them to their rightful owners. Journalist Geert Sels has now made them available as a list with the location of each and with reference to the names of possible owners. 50 of the 78 paintings have a provenance that is not complete. The dossier includes six articles, several case studies and many illustrations.
As a result of Geert Sels's work, a government working group is to convene this month.
The dossier was published last week in the Belgian art magazine Openbaar Kunstbezit Vlaanderen and is available here as a searchable pdf. The list of the paintings is on p.40. Click here to view. .

16 January 2016: German Advisory Commission adopts and publishes Rules of Procedure

On 13 December 2016, after much national and international prompting, and without publicity, the German Advisory Commission published, in German only, its new Rules of Procedure. Until then, it had operated without any, which meant there has been little clarity on the process and grounds for decision-making. Over a month later, and again without alerting the public, an English language version of the Rules of Procedure has been published. Both documents state they date to 2 November 2016. The Rules have nine sections: the Commission's mandate, composition, how to lodge a request, the preliminary procedure, what to expect at a hearing, the criteria for decision-making and recommendations, costs, expert opinions, and a final section on the adoption of the Rules. To read them in English, click here. To read them in German, click here.

10 January 2017: German Advisory Commission recommends the Sprengel Museum return a Schmidt-Rotluff painting to the heirs of Max Ruedenberg

The Commission stated that the Sprengel Museum's own records showed clearly that Marsh Landscape With Red Windmill, a 1922 watercolour by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, had belonged to Max Ruedenberg who had been forced to sell it in 1939. It had been acquired in the same year by Bernhard Sprengel and recorded by his wife Margrit as having been previously owned by the Ruedenberg family, with whom the Sprengels were acquainted. Max Ruedenberg was, like the Sprengels, a collector, businessman and member of the Hanover Kestner Gesellschaft, dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art and artists in Germany. He and his wife were deported to Theresienstadt in 1942 where they perished. The claim by their elderly grandchildren was first submitted in February 2012, but the Museum denied the evidence of its own documents and stated there was no proof of the painting's ownership by Max Ruedenberg. To read the recommendation, only available in German, click here.

10 January 2017: Rudolf-August Oetker Collection to return painting by Hans Thoma to the family of Hedwig Ullmann

The Collection's press release states that the painting known as Frühling im Gebirge/Kinderreigen (Springtime in the mountains) by Hans Thoma was acquired by Oetker at public auction in 1954 and has been in the German Kunstsammlung Oetker (Oetker Collection) ever since. Recently, it was identified by the Collection's provenance researcher as having been sold by Hedwig Ullmann in Germany in 1938.
Albert (1862–1912) and Hedwig Ullmann (1872–1945) were well- known Jewish art collectors, who acquired the Villa Gerlach in Frankfurt towards the end of the 19th century. As part of that purchase, the Ullmanns also became the owners of a series of wall panel paintings depicting the four seasons, which the previous owner had commissioned Hans Thoma to create. Mrs Ullmann emigrated from Germany in 1938 in the wake of Nazi persecution of the Jews and was forced to sell the painting as she emigrated.
The Kunstsammlung contacted, of its own initiative, the representative of the heirs who did not know the whereabouts of the painting. The Kunstsammlung advised them that the painting was in its possession and that it wished to return it to them on moral grounds. The heirs have gratefully accepted. The Board of the Kunstsammlung said it was delighted that the Ullmann family is being reunited with the painting. The attorney representing the heirs, David J. Rowland, said: “Our clients want to acknowledge the commendable work of the Kunstsammlung Oetker. This is an outstanding example of a private collection doing the right thing regarding Nazi looted art and sets a standard of best practice in this field".
To read the press release issued by the Oetker Collection, click here.

French libraries seized by the ERR (Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg)

A list of French libraries seized by the ERR (Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg), the Nazi looting agency in France, has been compiled by Dr Patricia Kennedy Grimsted in order to help in the search for looted property. The material includes a table of owners and their property, original source documents and an introductory essay by Dr Grimsted. It is hosted by the website of the Commission française des archives juives (CFAJ) and the project was funded by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. To visit the French site, which will provide an English version in January, click here

7 December 2016: German Advisory Commission issues recommendation in case of violin claimed by the heirs of Felix Hildesheimer, its first case involving a private owner

The 1706 Guarneri violin was acquired by the music dealer Felix Hildesheimer of Speyer in January 1938. His business had been boycotted since 1933 and in 1937 he was forced by the Nazis to sell it and give up his house. In August 1939 he committed suicide and in 1940 his wife was deported and her property taken by the Gestapo. Their two daughters were able to flee and reach the USA and Australia respectively. The violin reappeared in 1974 when it was purchased in good faith from the Cologne violin maker Ludwig Höfer by violinist Sophie Hagemann. After her death in 2010, it became the property of the Franz Hofmann and Sophie Hagemann Foundation which undertook provenance research and publicly sought out both further information on provenance and the Hildesheimer family. The Foundation could not clarify the history with certainty and doubted the claim, but both parties sought an amicable and equitable resolution.
The Advisory Commission found it very plausible that the violin had been lost due to persecution. The Foundation stated it would like to have the violin repaired and be lent to the best students of the Nuremberg Academy of Music. These musicians would be required to give concerts in Speyer with a suitable programme of music to commemorate the history of the Hildesheimer family and their musical activities. Given this proposal, the Advisory Commission recommended that a fair solution would be that the violin, whose market value is ca. €150,000 with repair costs of ca. €50,000 remain in the Foundation and the Foundation pay €100,000 to the heirs. To read the recommendation, the first by the Commission involving a private owner, click here for the German text and here for the English.

5 December 2016: Flechtheim heirs file suit in USA for recovery of eight paintings in Bavaria

The lawsuit filed against the Bavarian State Paintings Collections and the Free State of Bavaria for the restitution of eight paintings alleges that the paintings were lost to Flechtheim "due to the policy of racial persecution and genocide". According to the suit, the defendants claim to have valid title to a number of the paintings via a donor, Günther Franke who, they say, bought the paintings in 1932, but "for which there is no proof". The plaintiffs assert that, "On the contrary, Flechtheim was still the owner of the Paintings when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party seized power on January 30, 1933 and it was only the Nazi-induced destruction of his livelihood and subsequent escape from Germany that allowed Franke to possess these Paintings much later before conveying them to the Defendants". To read the suit in full, click here.

Documentary: The Claim: The Search for Stolen Art from WWII

A 90 minute documentary in Dutch, directed by Ditteke Mensink, was screened on NPO, the Dutch television channel, on 5 December. The film focuses on two cases brought to the Dutch Restitutions Committee and follows the Committee's deliberations and two claimants. Lion Tokkie is singlehandedly making a claim for an Isaac Israels' painting 'Children on the beach', which now hangs in a museum in Arnhem. But how can he prove that it was this particular version that hung above his grandfather's sideboard, when Israel painted several beach scenes and Lion has to rely on the childhood memories of his father? Clare Hamburger fled as a child to Switzerland where she still lives. She is hoping to recover two 17th century portraits hanging in the town of Roosendaal. To see the English language trailer, click here. To see the film, click here.

1 December 2016: Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) returns sculpture 'Susanna' by Reinhold Begas to the heirs of Felicia Lachmann-Mosse

The Mosse art collection was seized by the Nazis after the family fled Germany to France in 1933 and sold at the Rudolf Lepke and Union auction houses in 1934. In 2015 the Berlin museums returned eight works of art to the Mosse family following research identifying them as Jewish losses, but the sculpture was only identified by the Mosse heirs. The sculpture will initially remain on loan to the Berlin State Museums where it is currently on display at the Alte Nationalgalerie. A major goal of the Mosse restitution project is the promotion of German-American and German-Jewish relations. To read the SPK's press release, click here.

25 November 2016: German Culture Ministry provides €4m for a research programme on the Nazi past of Germany Ministries and central state authorities

The project, announced by Minister Monika Grütters, was proposed by a study commissioned by the Institute for Contemporary History and the Centre for Research into Contemporary History in February this year. The research programme is designed to provide a new cross-departmental approach that allows systemic questions and perspectives that are not limited to a single institution. The programme is also open for comparative research - for example, the inclusion of the GDR authorities - and will be under the auspices of the German Federal Archives. The Ministry of Culture will provide total funding of €4 million euros for 2017-2020. Due to the cross-departmental relevance of the Federal Chancellery, its history will be researched through an independent programme which will cost €1 million. To read the press release, click here.

26 October 2016: Kunstsammlung Rudolf-August Oetker GmbH audits art collection

The collection of the late billionaire Rudolf August Oetker, a former member of the Waffen-SS, is being thoroughly researched 'to assess whether any audited artwork belonged to a person persecuted for reasons of race, reli-gion, nationality, ideology or political opposition to National Socialism who was wrongfully deprived of such an artwork', according to a statement from the Board. The collection includes a wide range of artworks including paintings, silver and porcelain. The research will initially focus on the collection of paintings which numbers several hundred. So far, four artworks have been identified as 'candidates for restitution or the payment of financial compensation' and negotations with the rightful owners are ongoing. To read the statement, click here. To read an article about the collection which raised issues of provenance in July, click here.

12 October 2016: Report by Bavarian Culture Minister on Returns of Artworks to Nazi Families

On 12 October in the Bavarian Parliament, the Culture Minister Ludwig Spaenle responded to questions raised by Opposition parties in July about the Bavarian government's return of seized works of art to high-ranking Nazi families, handed over by the Americans for the purpose of restitution. In his written report, Minister Spaenle does not provide numbers or full details and never addresses the central question of the Bavarian government's responsibility then and now for these returns. He provides no information about the many works returned nor makes any effort to address the issue of what should be done about those returned works which were looted. He writes of current research on surviving works from Nazi collections in Bavarian museums which began in 2012 in response to the questions raised from outside Germany, But again he gives no details of the actual findings about these works and the identity of any rightful owners. To read the report in German, click here. To read an English translation of the report, click here.

15 July 2016: Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE) Press Release: Bavaria to investigate return of art to high-ranking Nazi families – Dombauverein commits to restitution of Kraus family painting

CLAE's press relase welcomes the swift action taken by the Bavarian parliament on Wednesday to require the government to undertake and publish a report on works of art which “with the assistance of the management of the Staatsgemaeldesammlungen (State Paintings Collections) or the State Government” were handed back to high-ranking Nazis and their families. CLAE calls for the investigation to include clarification of the provenance of the artworks so that the rightful owners of any works that were looted can be identified and assured of restitution or compensatory justice. CLAE also calls on the Bavarian government to ensure that all documents from the State Paintings Collection and other relevant government bodies are published and made fully accessible. The release welcomes the recent commitment of the Dombauverein (Cathedral Association) Xanten to restitute the Jan van der Heyden painting confiscated from the Kraus family in 1941 in Vienna and which was returned by Bavaria in 1962 not to the Kraus family but to Henriette Hoffmann-von Schirach whose father, Hitler's official photographer, acquired it in Vienna through the good offices of his son-in-law, her husband Baldur von Schirach, Gauleiter of Vienna. She sold it the following year and it was purchased by the Dombauverein. The release sets out the history of the negotiations with the Dombauverein since the claim was submitted in July 2011 and the Kraus family's response to this new development.
To read the release, click here.

1 July 2016: Statement of Bavarian Culture Minister on the Staatsgemaeldesammlungen (State Paintings Collections)

In response to only some of the questions raised by Dr Sepp Duerr, leader of the Green Party, on 29 June 2016 (reported in the BundesJustizPortal on 2 July), about the shabby behaviour of the Staatsgemaeldesammlungen (State Paintings Collections), Minister Spaenle asserted that the doors of the  Collections are open to both families and researchers. He denied that the Collections had blocked access to documentation and asserted that its doors are open to those who "have a legitimate interest", without specifying what a "legitimate" interest was and who would make that decision. He denied that the Collections were not transparent but did not address Dr Duerr's question of why its records have not been handed over to the State Archives in accordance with State law where they would be freely accessible. He did not at all  address the question of whether artworks had been returned to high-ranking Nazi families. To read the press release, click here.

30 June 2016: World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder's Statement on Scandal in Bavaria

Referring to the scandal as "absolutely shocking", Ronald Lauder called for "full transparency" on allegations Bavaria gave looted art to Nazis rather than returning the art to its rightful Jewish heirs. "Returning stolen property to the criminals guilty of the theft is nothing short of a crime itself", he said. “The very idea that the state would negotiate with the families of high-ranking Nazi officials, rather than insisting on restitution to those whose lives and property were upended during the Holocaust, is dismaying.. All efforts must be made to ensure that the families of the rightful heirs are fully compensated or receive full restitution of the property stolen from them.” To read the statement in full, click here.

28 June 2016: Claims Conference Statement on Scandal in Bavaria

Ruediger Mahlo, the Claims Conference representative in Germany, made a statement about the scandal that has hit Germany, and Bavaria in particular. Referring to "this virulent dilemma", he wrote "As long as cover-ups and concealment predominate, even in high-ranking institutions such as the Bavarian State Paintings Collections, it will hardly be possible to find solutions that are satisfactory and concilliatory, let alone just and fair as defined by the Washington Principles". To read the statement in full, click here.

28 June 2016: Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE) calls for three fundamental changes in the way Germany handles research and restitution

On 25 June CLAE published its groundbreaking original research showing that Germany returned Nazi looted artworks to the high-ranking Nazi families who stole it rather than to the families from whom this was taken, and that this remarkable scandal has been covered up by Germany for decades. At the same time, the looted families had their claims thrown out or impossible hurdles created to prevent them recovering their artworks - and this continues today. CLAE is now calling for a full accounting of these shameful transactions with the high-ranking Nazis and the way they have been hidden, as well as for three essential changes in the way Germany handles research and restitution:

1. Lists of all artworks in German collections whose provenance is unclear or problematic must be published so families have a chance of finding their missing paintings; there can be no more waiting for individual item provenance research to be done first;

2. All relevant records must be open and accessible. In particular, the records of the Bavarian Museums must be handed over to the State Archives in accordance with German law;

3. Germany must create a single, fair, transparent and accountable claims process that applies to all collections throughout Germany, at both federal and state level, so that all families can be confident their claims will be dealt with justly.

Germany already made these commitments 18 years ago at the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, but has not implemented them. CLAE says that without total transparency and accountability, the victims of the Nazi looting will continue to be denied the justice that is so long overdue.

To read CLAE's press release about its research, click here. To read the full story published over three pages in Sueddeutsche Zeitung in English or German, click here.

Online Resources and Case News

Country-specific information is available on this site for 48 countries, from Albania to Yugoslavia, in the Information by Country section. Details of important, non country-specific, online resources are available in the International section of the site which contains several categories of information.  For example: 

Restitutions and Case News: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or settled outside the courts with copies of reports and rulings. Full details of a comprehensive range of cases can be found in the News Archive, which is fully searchable by name of family, artwork, museum, city, etc.

: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or being settled in court with copies of court filings and judgements.

Research Resources: provides details of family records, tracing services, art historical resources, texts of post-war reports, and books and publications.

Web Resources: provides details of various online databases of looted paintings, results of provenance research in countries around the world, archival records available online and other research materials.

Seeking Owners of Identified Looted Property: provides lists of names of individuals whose looted property has been identified in institutions in Germany and whose heirs are being sought. 

Other categories of information include Governmental Conferences and Hearings, Laws, Policies and Guidelines, Art Trade, and Press, Television, Radio and Film.  To explore all these sections, click here.

The site is regularly updated with new resources and developments.  To provide details of resources or cases to add to the site, please email

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