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'Holocaust-Era Looted Art: A Current World-Wide Overview'

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Title

Holocaust-Era Looted Art: A Current World-Wide Overview

Author

Dr Wesley A. Fisher and Dr Ruth Weinberger

Date

September 2014

Description

This report was presented by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and World Jewish Restitution Organization at the ICOM Museum & Politics Conference in St Petersburg on 11 September 2014.

According to the report, art and Judaica looted by the Nazis from Jews is still largely unidentified and a review of 50 countries shows little progress despite international pacts. The authors call for the creation of an International Association of Provenance Researchers "to guide museums toward more actively and professionally investigating the histories of items in their collections".

Claims Conference President Julius Berman said that “As we approach 70 years since the end of World War II, and 15 years since the Washington Conference, action and restitution must take the place of talks and agreements. Governments, museums and dealers must research their collections, publicize their findings and establish a claims process for recovering family treasures. We have identified the issues at hand and initiated programs to foster research and restitution. Those who have the art objects must work to return what is not rightfully theirs.”

Claims Conference President Julius Berman states that the "new report shows that 15 years after the first international agreement regarding restitution of Nazi-era looted art, most countries have made little progress toward returning stolen cultural items to their rightful owners. A survey of 50 countries by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) shows that two-thirds of the nations that have endorsed agreements regarding research, publicity and claims for Nazi-era looted art have done little or nothing to implement those pacts.

The Claims Conference/WJRO reviewed activity over the past 15 years regarding the identification of artworks, Judaica, and other cultural property plundered from Jews by the Nazis and their allies.While there have been some positive developments since the 2009 Prague Holocaust Era Assets Conference, only one-third of the participating nations have made major or substantial progress towards implementing the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art (endorsed by 44 countries in 1998) and the Terezin Declaration (endorsed by 47 countries in 2009). All of the countries are signatories to the Code of Ethics for Museums of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), which calls upon museums to establish the full provenance of items in their collections, but only a minority of museums has actually implemented this Code."

To read the abstract of the report, click here. To read the full report, click here.

 

Source

This report was presented by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and World Jewish Restitution Organization at the ICOM Museum & Politics Conference in St Petersburg on 11 September 2014.

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