News

Legal battle over Modigliani painting rumbles on
The Art Newspaper 20 April 2018
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These glorious hats have a tragic history
Jewish Chronicle 19 April 2018
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Nazi art theft exhibition puts stolen masterpieces on display
Expatica 19 April 2018
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Une famille juive avait été spoliée d’un tableau d’Utrillo conservé au musée
La Gazette du Val d'Oise 18 April 2018
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The west’s great museums should return their looted treasures
Financial Times 12 April 2018
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Bible that Goering stole from Jew discovered
Arutz Sheva 11 April 2018
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La justice genevoise condamne une maison de vente aux enchères - The Geneva court condemns an auction house
Tribune de Geneve 10 April 2018
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Test case for Nazi-looted artworks rules in favour of Holocaust victim's heirs on Egon Schiele pictures
Antiques Trade Gazette 6 April 2018
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New York judge awards Nazi-looted artworks to Holocaust victim's heirs in key test case
Reuters 6 April 2018
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London dealer ordered to return Egon Schiele works worth $5m to heirs of Holocaust victims
The Art Newspaper 6 April 2018
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Nazi-Looted Art Returned to Holocaust Victim's Heirs in New York
Bloomberg 6 April 2018
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Wo ist die Sammlung von Eduard Fuchs? - Where is the collection of Eduard Fuchs?
DPA 5 April 2018
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‘I’ve Regained a Part of My Family’: Unusual Swiss Restitution Case Brings John Constable Painting Home to Heirs in France
ARTnews 4 April 2018
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Report lashes France’s ‘lack of ambition’ to return looted Jewish art
AFP 3 April 2018
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Two steps forward, one step back for Holocaust restitution
The Art Newspaper 30 March 2018
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»Ein kleines Stück Gerechtigkeit« - 'A Little Piece of Justice'
Juedische Allgemeine 29 March 2018
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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

Provenance and Collection Research, Colloquium, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, 25 April 2018

With a focus on research in Bavarian institutions and collections. For full details of the programme, click here.

Formerly Jewish-owned property - Art works acquired by the Munich Stadtmuseum during National Socialism, Exhibition, 27 April – 23 September 2018

The first exhibition by a Munich museum on this subject, showing works from every part of its collections, both of known and as yet unknown provenance, profiling the owners and placing the acquisitions in the historical context of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. The exhibition invites visitors to bring in items that came into their families' possession during the Nazi era. For full information, click here.

The Tulane-Siena Summer Study Institute for International Law, Cultural Heritage & the Arts, 27 May-21 June 2018

For full details, click here.

Provenance and the challenges of recovering looted assets, Provenance Research Training Course, Amelia Italy, 20-26 June 2018

Organised by ARCA and HARP. Application deadline 30 March 2018. For further details, click here.

Provenance, why does it matter? Provenance, Dispossession and Translocation ResearchSummer School, Zadar, Croatia, 27-31 August 2018

Organised by TransCultAA which is seeking 12-15 participants. Deadline for applications 16 March. For full details, click here.

20 Years of the Washington Principles: Challenges for the Future, Conference, Berlin, 26-28 November 2018

Hosted by the German Lost Art Foundation to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Washington Principles. In cooperation with the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States. Further details to follow.

Publications

System und Methode: NS-Raubkunst in deutschen Museen
January 2018
Irena Strelow:. Based on two case studies, Irena Strelow describes the systematic "utilisation" of art collections of Jewish emigrants by the Berlin tax authorities between 1938 and 1945. Both the collection of Marie Busch, née Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and that of department store owner Georg Tietz were, in a perfectly organised bureaucratic process, converted into foreign exchange by the Berlin finance authorities.
read more
Handbook on Judaica Provenance Research: Ceremonial Objects
January 2018
Julie-Marthe Cohen, Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek, and Ruth Jolanda Weinberger. An online Handbook to help museum staff, researchers, auctioneers, collectors, lawyers, private persons, dealers and other interested parties to trace Judaica objects that were looted or displaced during the 20th century, especially during World War II. These objects may be found in Jewish and non-Jewish museum collections; in private collections; in Jewish institutions such as communities, synagogues, seminaries; and on the market.
read more
"Ein Katalog als Erinnerungsort", Kunst und Recht magazine No. 5/6 2017
December 2017
Dr Henning Kahmann. A critical review of the catalogue of the Gurlitt exhibitions in Berne and Bonn, in which Kahmann writes that the catalogue does not clearly define 'looted art' and in so doing contributes to the mistaken idea that the Gurlitt collection is largely comprised of looted art.
read more
Restitution und Prüfprogramm: Worauf es ankommt. Kunstchronik, Heft 12, Dezember 2017
December 2017
Dr Henning Kahmann. A review in the journal Kunstchronik by lawyer Dr Henning Kahmann of Sheila Heidt's recent book Restitutionsbegehren bei NS-Raubkunst which argues that loss of a work of art during the Nazi era by persecutees should be sufficient for its return.
read more
Kunst durch Kredit: Die Berliner Museen und ihre Erwerbungen von der Dresdner Bank 1935 - Art by Credit: The Berlin Museums and their acquisitions from the Dresdner Bank in 1935
November 2017
Lynn Rother. The first in depth study of the purchase by the Prussian State for 7.5million RM on 15 August 1935 of more than 4,000 works of art from the Dresdner Bank taken almost entirely from Jewish collections.
read more
Der Fall Gurlitt: Die wahre Geschichte über Deutschlands größten Kunstskandal
October 2017
Maurice Philip Remy. Remy takes the view that Hildebrand Gurlitt was certainly not a Nazi or an art robber. The accusation that he enriched himself from the plight of the Jews cannot be sustained.  The persecution of his son Cornelius Gurlitt by the authorities was crass injustice. The confiscation of the collection was unlawful.The German government kept this 'scandal' alive for years in order to distract from its own failings.
read more
Feindliche Gewalten: Das Ringen um Gustav Klimts Beethovenfries
October 2017
Sophie Lillie. About the losing battle waged by the Lederer family to recover the Beethoven frieze in Vienna, a monumental cyle of work painted by Klimt in 1902 for the Vienna Secession, seized by the Nazis in 1938.
read more
Notare in der national- sozialistischen "Volksgemeinschaft": Das westfälische Anwaltsnotariat 1933-1945
October 2017
Michael Kißener and Andreas Roth . An analysis of the activities of Westphalian notaries in the Nazi era from a historical and legal perspective with a particular focus on their role in the aryanisation of property of both individuals and businesses.
read more
A Tragic Fate—Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi Looted Art
June 2017
Nicholas O'Donnell. The first comprehensive overview of Nazi-looted art as it has played out in U.S. courtrooms.   
read more
Max J. Friedländer 1867-1958. Aphorismen aus Krieg- und Nachkriegszeit zum 150. Geburtstag
June 2017
A selection from Friedländer’s Aphorismen aus Krieg- und Nachkriegszeit, a collection of notes about topics such as art and connoisseurship, the nature of man and Friedländer’s own personality.
read more
Sprung in den Raum: Skulpturen bei Alfred Flechtheim
May 2017
Ottfried Dascher .
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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
„Ich werde aber weiter sorgen“: NS-Raubkunst in katholischen Kirchen
March 2017
Irena Strelow. The clergy of the Catholic Salvatorkirche in Berlin used their connections to the "German Society for Christian Art" in Munich and to the dealer Rudolf Sobczyk when furnishing the church from 1933 to 1945. At first he dealt with objects from emergency sales and later from confiscations and the "property that had fallen to the Reich" of the deported Jews. Sobczyk benefited from the network of the Berlin art trade, which included above all the banned Jewish commission agents and art dealers, whom he specifically sought out
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

Welcome to lootedart.com

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 Bibliographies on all aspects of looted art, the art trade, archives and restitution, 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.

NEW

Mosse Art Research Initiative (MARI): Research Results and Online Portal

On 2 May 2018 in Berlin, MARI will present its online portal with recent research results and a media station on works from the Rudolf Mosse Collection. The aim of MARI is to reconstruct the extensive art collection of the German Jewish publisher Rudolf Mosse (1843-1920) and to investigate where the works that were taken by the National Socialists are currently located. The results are recorded in the MARI online portal, a research database. Launched a year ago, MARI is the first public-private partnership in provenance research and is considered unique. The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) is one of several German institutions involved in the project, which is funded by the Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste and the heirs who are working in cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin (FU).

Looted Books in the Nuremberg City Library

Leibl Rosenberg, in charge of the project on looted books in the City Library, has, almost single-handedly, over the last few years, identified and effected the return of hundreds of books to their former owners in eleven countries. The most recent list of former owners of looted books still in the library and which come from all over Europe has been published on the Library website and on this website as a searchable list and he writes:

'We ask you once again today to give the victims a little bit of justice after all this time. This project was, is and remains pro bono, there are no costs for the applicants. Please read our latest search list on the homepage of the City Library and make this project known to your friends and partners by publishing this link on your pages. There are still many people waiting for these fragments of memory.'

For information in German on the history of the collection, which originates in the library of Julius Streicher, and details on how to make a claim, click here. For information in English, click here

March 2018: ITS International Campaign to return personal possessions to victims of the Nazis

In the International Tracing Service archive in Bad Arolsen, Germany, there are nearly 3,000 personal effects from concentration camps: pocket watches and wristwatches, engraved wedding rings, wallets, family photos, letters, everyday items such as combs and powder compacts, etc. Often they were the last remaining belongings of the victims of Nazi persecution, the last items they had with them at the time of their detention by the National Socialists. The personal effects are mainly from the concentration camps of Neuengamme and Dachau, Natzweiler and Bergen-Belsen, as well as the transit camps of Amersfoort and Compiègne. In addition there are some from prisoners of the Hamburg Gestapo.

Through an initiative of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, efforts began by the ITS in 2008 to document and return these effects, and, as a result, several hundred were returned. In 2018, the ITS started an international campaign to return the remaining personal possessions. In January and February 2018 an exhibition #StolenMemory was mounted at UNESCO in Paris showing what it means to people to have back these mementoes and showing objects whose owners the ITS has yet to find.

See the names list here

For further information about the campaign, see the #StolenMemory brochure and the website.

 

Old Master painting looted by Nazis in WW2 restituted to Dutch family by the Lord Mayor of the City of London

 


On 6 November 2017, in a ceremony at The Mansion House, London, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, the City of London Corporation restituted Jacob Ochtervelt’s The Oyster Meal to Mrs Charlotte Bischoff von Heemskerck, the 96 year old surviving daughter of the late owner, Dr. J. H. Smidt van Gelder, director of the Children’s Hospital of Arnhem, The Netherlands. The 17th century painting, looted in 1945, was the subject of a restitution claim submitted by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE), with extensive supporting documentation, earlier this year. CLAE’s research traced the previously unknown history of The Oyster Meal between its seizure and disappearance in January 1945 and its reappearance on the art market in Switzerland in 1965. For full details, see the Press Release jointly issued by the City of London Corporation and the Commission.

Enhanced International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property now hosted by EHRI

The International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-era Cultural Property, till now hosted by the US National Archives (NARA), is now hosted by the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) as part of the suite of Holocaust-related research resources available through the EHRI website.

The Portal links researchers to archival materials at 22 participating institutions, consisting of descriptions of records and, in many cases, digital images of the records that relate to cultural property that was stolen, looted, seized, forcibly sold, or otherwise lost during the Nazi era.   The International Research Portal is an important resource for provenance, claims, and academic researchers to locate relevant archival materials across institutions.

The Portal was enhanced prior to the move to enable searching simultaneously across many of the resources available through the Portal that previously had to be accessed individually.  This additional capability greatly improves the ability of researchers to access archival materials across multiple institutions while conducting cross-institutional research. A short article outlining the new search features can be found here. For further information about the Portal and the records available, click here.

 

Museums Online in July 2017

Museums are increasingly putting their collections online, most with images. The Metropolitan Museum in New York has 1.5 million objects of which 447,000 are currently online, 307,000 with images. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC which encompasses 19 museums has 154 million objects, 10 million of which are available online, 2.2 million of them with images. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has 1 million objects of which 602,000 are online, all of them with images. The UK has put online the country's 200,000 oil paintings in 3,250 public venues from museums to hospitals and even a lighthouse, all with images, some which had never been photographed before. There are also watercolours and works on paper.  Among the online collections are the following:

 

ArtUK: 200,000 oil paintings, watercolours and works on paper, all with images https://artuk.org/
Bavarian State Paintings Collections, Munich (
18 museums): 25,000 works online https://www.pinakothek.de/sammlung
Berlin State Museums
(17 collections): 180,000 works online, all with images http://www.smb-digital.de/eMuseumPlus
- also Ancient Bronzes in Berlin: 8,200 objects online acquired by 1945 http://ww2.smb.museum/antikebronzenberlin/index.htm
British Museum, London
: 4 million works online, 1 million with one or more images https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx
Dresden State Collections:
No information about the number of works online; only published are those with 'cleared' provenances  http://skd-online-collection.skd.museum/
Louvre, Paris
: 30,000 objects online with images, all are works on display http://cartelen.louvre.fr/cartelen/visite?srv=crt_frm_rs&langue=en&initCritere=true
Metropolitan Museum, New York: 447,000 works online 307,000 with images http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York: 75,000 works online (of 200,000 in total in the collection), 63,000 with images https://www.moma.org/collection/
Prado Museum, Madrid: 3,500 works online with images https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-works
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: 604,000 works online, all with images https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/search?ii=0&p=1
Smithsonian, Washington: 10 million works online, 1.6 million with images http://collections.si.edu/search/about.htm
V&A, London: 1.2 million works online, 675,000 with images https://collections.vam.ac.uk/

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.

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.


Lawsuits
: 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 info@lootedart.com.

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.

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