Research Resources:

Books & Publications

Events and Conferences
International Conferences
Paul Graupe, Arthur Goldschmidt and the dispute over an Adriaen van Ostade painting in wartime France
Victoria S. Reed - February 2024

An essay on the working relationship of German Jewish art dealers Paul Graupe and Arthur Goldschmidt which offers clues to the fate of other works of art placed in their custody which heirs of Holocaust victims may be seeking.

Year in review: Art Law in Switzerland
Florian Schmidt-Gabain - January 2024

Swiss lawyer Florian Schmidt-Gabain summarises developments in 2023, focusing on restitution, the issues of the Bührle collection at the Kunsthaus Zurich, and the 'now outdated' distinction between looted art and flight art, showing how this change in understanding came about.

transfer – Zeitschrift für Provenienz- forschung und Sammlungs -geschichte / Journal for Provenance Research and the History of Collections
Eds Ulrike Saß and Christoph Zuschlag - January 2024

Articles fall into four categories: Interviews, Research Articles (Peer Review), Research Reports and Case Studies.

Cashing Out: The Flight of Nazi Treasure 1945-1948
Neill Lochery - December 2023

Professor Neill Lochery's book explores how the "neutral" countries, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Argentina and Brazil, profited from their trade with the Germans during the Second World War, and employed shady efforts to hold onto their profits in Nazi gold, looted art and other assets. He shows the flight of Nazi treasure through “neutral” countries after the war and the race to intercept the stolen assets before they disappeared, and before the will to punish Germany was replaced by the political considerations of the approaching Cold War.

Provenienzforschung und Kunsthandel
Peter Wehrle (ed) - December 2023

An open access publication on provenance research and the art trade realised by the Munich auction house Ketterer Kunst with contributions by a range of specialist and academic authors. Chapters include provenance research in the auction houses and its sources, profiles of dealer and gallery archives, and concrete case studies on the collections of Olga Mengers, Isidor Bach, Fritz Benjamin, Paul Metz and Arthur Dahlheim. The book can be read online and/or downloaded here

The Fate of Antiquities in the Nazi Era
RIHA Journal Special Issue 2023 - September 2023

Essays on the role of antiquities in the art world in the Nazi period, the aesthetics of National Socialism, antiquities collectors and dealers in Europe in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, and the various ways in which antiquities changed hands during the precarious Nazi period. All essays are accessible as PDFs.

25 Years of the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art
Olaf S. Ossmann - July 2023

An exploration of post-war restitution, whether the Washington Principles have brought about 'fair and just solutions', and what is needed to provide justice for the dispossessed.

The Art Provenance Report 2023
Angelina Giovani-Agha - April 2023

On the key issues faced by art market professionals, independent researchers and curators, and with the aim of broadening the conversation on ‘How much due diligence qualifies as duly diligent’ and laying the groundwork for collecting, analysing, and interpreting previously unknown data in insightful and useful ways.

Bloomsbury Art Markets
Johannes Nathan, Editor-in-Chief - March 2023

A comprehensive guide to art galleries, auction houses, art fairs, and agents in Europe, Russia, and North America from multiple national and historical contexts.


From Global Databases to Global Norms? The Case of Cultural Property Law
Professor Amnon Lehavi - February 2023

On the potential influence of global databases on rules and procedures for the restitution or return of cultural objects that have been stolen, looted, or illicitly exported across national borders.

transfer – Zeitschrift für Provenienz-forschung und Sammlungsgeschichte | Journal for Provenance Research and the History of Collection
Eds Ulrike Saß, Florian Schönfuß, Christoph Zuschlag - December 2022

The first edition of the journal with essays in English and German on many aspects of provenance research including research reports, interviews, case studies and reviews. Available online on this site.

Kunst voor das Reich Op zoek naar naziroofkunst uit België - Le trésor de guerre des nazis - Art for the Reich: In search of Nazi art from Belgium
Geert Sels - November 2022

In a pathbreaking book, Geert Sels shows how paintings by Memling, Van der Weyden, Brueghel, Jordaens and Cranach left Belgium during the war and how many remain unreturned after the Nazis emptied homes, looted art, forced owners to sell and spent millions of Reichsmarks on the art market. Published in Dutch, French edition to be published on 24 January 2023.

Kunst und Profit. Museen und der französische Kunstmarkt im Zweiten Weltkrieg / Art et Profit. Les musées et le marché de l’art pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale
Elisabeth Furtwängler, Mattes Lammert, eds - November 2022

On the similarities and differences in the activities and acquisitions of German and French museums on the French art market during the Occupation and the location of those works today, through 14 essays  from German and French authors each summarised on this site. 

Restitution of Movable Property in Croatia
Dr Naida-Michal Brandl - October 2022

In September 2019, under the direction of Dr. Ljerka Dulibic of the Strossmayer Gallery, the digitization of the KOMZA (Commission for the gathering and protection of cultural monuments and antiquities) archives held by the Ministry of Culture on the postwar fate of cultural objects nationalized under communism was completed. The Claims Conference/WJRO, together with Dr. Naida-Michal Brandl of the University of Zagreb, compiled an historical analysis of what these archival records are, whether from KOMZA under the communists or otherwise, and compiled a list of names of the original Jewish and other individual and organizational owners of the objects that were distributed after the war.

Einführung in die Provenienzforschung: Wie die Herkunft von Kulturgut entschlüsselt wird
Professor Dr Christoph Zuschlag - October 2022

A comprehensive introduction to the history and methods of provenance research, one of the most 'explosive' areas of art history.

The Central Art Collecting Point in Munich
Craig Hugh Smyth - September 2022

Re-publication of Craig Hugh Smyth's 16 May 1995 English language lecture at the the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, with an introduction by Iris Lauterbach.

Provenienz und Kulturgutschutz: Juristische und kunsthistorische Perspektiven
Eds Ulrike Saß, Matthias Weller, Christoph Zuschlag - September 2022

Chapter subjects range from provenance research on cultural objects from colonial contexts, Nazi looted property, cultural property confiscation in the Soviet Zone and the GDR to methodological issues. The legal essays deal with the civil law implications of the new German Cultural Property Protection Act, normative implications of the Washington Principles demand for just and fair solutions, and legal reactions to developments in the image sciences.

In Hitler's Munich: Jews, the Revolution, and the Rise of Nazism
Michael Brenner - May 2022

How Bavaria’s capital city, aided by politicians, judges, police, and ordinary residents, terrorised the Jewish population, becoming the testing ground for Nazism and the Final Solution, and why the city’s transformation into 'Hitler's city' is crucial for understanding the Nazi era and the tragedy of the Holocaust.

Alice’s Book: How the Nazis Stole My Grandmother’s Cookbook
Karina Urbach - May 2022

Alice Urbach had a cookery school in Vienna and in 1935 published a bestselling cookbook. In September 1938, after the Anschluss, Alice’s name was removed from her book. She was summoned to her publisher, Ernst Reinhardt Verlag, and told by her editor, Hermann Jungck, to hand over all her copyright and publishing rights. Her book was “Aryanised”, given a new “author” by the name of Rudolf Rösch. Alice’s preface to her cookbook, in which she had celebrated “the colourful mix of peoples that made up the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy”, was deleted, as were her recipes for Rothschild sponge and Rothschild omelette, plus any clues that the book was written by a woman. In 1948 Alice wrote to the publisher from her apartment in Manhattan, asking to have her rights back and her name restored. The publisher never did and kept on publishing the book. Alice died in 1983, aged 97. After the German publication of this book by her granddaughter Karina in 2020, Ernst Reinhardt Verlag reprinted the original 1935 edition of Alice’s cookbook, with her name on the jacket. Every German and Austrian library has been sent a copy.

Africa’s Struggle for Its Art: History of a Postcolonial Defeat
Bénédicte Savoy - May 2022

On the decades-long fight by African nations for the return of countless works of art stolen during the colonial era and placed in Western museums.

Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany’s Wealthiest Dynasties
David de Jong - April 2022

How the Nazis helped German tycoons make billions from the horrors of the Third Reich and World War II – and how the German movement toward facing the past somehow bypassed many of these revered tycoons and their dark histories.

Reconstructing the Record of Nazi Cultural Plunder: A Guide to the Dispersed Archives of the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) and the Postwar Retrieval of ERR Loot
Patricia Kennedy Grimsted - February 2022

This Guide documents the current locations of remaining ERR files and related sources, details their contents, and provides links to the many files now online. The Guide also describes considerable documentation including the subsequent fate, postwar retrieval, and restitution of ERR loot.

Jüdische Kunsthändler und Galeristen, Eine Kulturgeschichte des Schweizer Kunsthandels mit einem Porträt der Galerie Aktuaryus in Zürich, 1924-46
Elisabeth Eggimann Gerber - February 2022

A cultural history of the Swiss art trade focusing on Jewish art dealers and gallery owners, with a comprehensive portrait of the Aktuaryus Gallery in Zurich (1924-46) and the work of the Jewish art dealer and gallerist Toni Aktuaryus (1893-1946)

Art and the Nazis, 1933-1945 Looting, Propaganda and Seizure
Arthur J. McLaughlin, Jr. - January 2022

An analysis of the Third Reich’s efforts to confiscate, loot, censor and influence art that begins with a brief history of the looting of artworks in Western history. The artistic backgrounds of Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering are examined, along with the Nazi art looting organisations, and Nazi endeavours to censor and manipulate the arts.

Die Wiener Rothschilds. Ein Krimi | The Vienna Rothschilds. A Thriller
Gabriele Kohlbauer-Fritz and Tom Juncker - December 2021

The Rothschilds in Austria played a significant role in the political and economic development of the country, founded important banking and industrial enterprises as well as charitable institutions. When the National Socialists came to power in 1938, the looting of the family's assets began, the restitution of which continues to this day. The book is the catalogue of the exhibition at the Jewish Museum Vienna which began on 12 December 2021 and runs until 5 June 2022.

Moving Cultural Goods Across Space and Time: Discussing The Changing Ideas, Laws and Actual Circulation of Cultural Goods
Raymond Dowd - November 2021

New York attorney Raymond Dowd argues that the common law remedy of impressment of a constructive trust (trust ex malificio) is the proper approach in resolving Nazi looted art cases. 



Meine jüdischen Autobiographien. Eine Leseverführung und subjektive Auswahl
Evelyn Adunka - October 2021

The autobiographies of 364 Jewish authors born between 1833 and 1963 who describe in the context of their lives the great Jewish hopes and disappointments in the age of emancipation and, in the 20th century, the signal events of the Shoah and the founding of the State of Israel.

Restitution: The Return of Cultural Artefacts
Alexander Herman - September 2021

Special discount of 20% off for newsletter readers till 31 January 2022.

An overview by the Assistant Director of the Institute of Art and Law of the complex issues surrounding the restitution of cultural property and the difficult application of our contemporary conceptions of justice to instances from the past. The book asks whether we are entering a new 'restitution paradigm', one that could have an indelible impact on the cultural sector - and the rest of the world - for many years to come. 

Translocations: Histories of Dislocated Cultural Assets
Edited by Bénédicte Savoy, Felicity Bodenstein, and Merten Lagatz - September 2021

Who owns cultural assets? Who has narrative control? What could fair and just approaches to dislocations of cultural assets look like, independently of restitution?

Was soll zurück? Die Restitution von Kulturgütern im Zeitalter der Nostalgie - What should go back? The Restitution of Cultural Assets in the Age of Nostalgia
Sophie Schönberger - August 2021

Can late returns make up for past injustices? What must, what should, what can be returned? Sophie Schönberger, professor of public law, art and cultural law, shows the difficulties, but also the opportunities, of dealing with a past that is constructed from the present.

"Entartete Kunst" in Breslau, Stettin und Königsberg
Meike Hoffmann and Andreas Hüneke - July 2021
From “Leader to Pariah”? On the Dutch Restitutions Committee and the inclusion of the public interest in assessing Nazi-spoliated art claims
Tabitha I. Oost - June 2021

Tabitha Oost explores critiques of Dutch restitution policy and concludes that institutional and substantive vulnerability is inevitable within a morally induced framework based on mere policy rules rather than legal rules.

Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure
Menachem Kaiser - March 2021

The story of the author's quest to reclaim his family’s apartment building in Poland—and of the astonishing entanglement with Nazi treasure hunters that follows.

Museums and the Holocaust (Second Edition)
Edited by Ruth Redmond-Cooper - January 2021

First published by the late Norman Palmer in 2000, the new edition has gathered contributors from over ten countries to show the important changes that have taken place around the world in the last 20 years.

Begehrt, beschwiegen, belastend: Die Kunst der NS-Elite, die Alliierten und die Bayerischen Staatsgemälde-sammlungen - Coveted, Silent, Incriminating: The Art of the Nazi Elite, the Allies and the Bavarian State Painting Collections
Johannes Gramlich - January 2021

On the 900 works of art from the collections of the Nazi leaders which entered the holdings of the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich in the 1950s and 1960s. Johannes Gramlich ask why and by whom some of these objects were returned to the families of the Nazi leaders or sold to third parties, a story described as one of great greed for profit, tactical silence and a sense of responsibility that grew only slowly and with much delay.

Ernst Buchner (1892-1962): Meister der Adaption von Kunst und Politik
Theresa Sepp - January 2021

In this 2020 doctoral thesis, Theresa Sepp explores the career of Ernst Buchner (1892-1962) twice general director of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich, first during the Nazi era and then again after it. She looks at his successful strategy of justifying and reinterpreting his activities after the end of the war, revealing him as a case study for personal continuities in the post-war period as well as for the suppression of the past within the art world and beyond.

Raubkunst und Restitution – Zwischen Kolonialzeit und Washington Principles
Eds Prof. Dr. Matthias Weller, Mag. rer. Publ., RA Dr. Nicolai B. Kemle, Prof. Dr. Thomas Dreier, Dr. Karolina Kuprecht, LL.M - December 2020

Proceedings of the Thirteenth Heidelberg Art Law Conference in October 2019

Provenance Research Today: Principles, Practice, Problems
Ed. Arthur Tompkins - December 2020

Covering key aspects of provenance research for the international art market. It guides the reader from a basic introduction to research methods to questions of ethics and the challenges of specific case histories and contexts.

Unbewältigt? Ästhetische Moderne und Nationalsozialismus - Unmastered Past? Modernism in Nazi Germany. Art, Art Trade, Curatorial Practice
- October 2020

Contributions from a 2019 conference organised by Meike Hoffmann and Dieter Scholz on what motivated artists, art historians, and art dealers to try to link Expressionism with Nazism, the mechanisms which defined the canonisation of Expressionism in art history after the Second World War, and the return of ideologically charged concepts and patterns of argumentation in the present.

»Die Zeit drängt & überall sind Schattenseiten« Die Sammlung Abraham Adelsberger und das Gemälde Fischerboote bei Frauenchiemsee von Josef Wopfner. Erläuterung der Forschungsergebnisse und Restitutionsgrundlagen
Johannes Gramlich - October 2020

On the restitution by the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in 2020 of the oil painting 'Fischerboote bei Frauenchiemsee' by Joseph Wopfner to the heirs of Alfred Isay (1885–1948). The painting was part of the extensive collection of Abraham Adelsberger (1863–1940) of Nuremberg who gave it to Alfred Isay, his son-in-law, as security for a loan in 1932/33. Isay lost ownership of the painting in 1935, and the painting went to Martin Bormann, head of the Nazi Chancellery in Berlin. It was found by the Allies at the end of the war and, its rightful ownership unknown, handed over to the custody of the state of Bavaria. In 1956 Bavaria assumed ownership. The painting remained in their state collection for the next 64 years.

Jakob Goldschmidt - Ewige Schuld?
Dr Sabine Rudolph - September 2020

From the earliest days, no other Jewish banker was subjected to such malicious anti-Semitic hostility as Jakob Goldschmidt. In July 1931 in “Der Führer,” he was held responsible for having caused the collapse of the Danatbank, and was accused of being motivated by the typical Jewish greed for profit. This image outlived the Nazi regime and impacted the proceedings that he and his heirs initiated to reclaim their lost assets from that era. Now can a court ruling finally put an end to this?

La collection disparue
Pauline Baer de Perignon - September 2020

The personal journey of Pauline Baer de Perignon, great-granddaughter of the renowned French collector Jules Strauss, tracing the story of what happened after the family apartment was raided by the Nazis in 1942 and accompanying her in her discoveries, her battles, her disappointments, and a form of reconciliation.

Vom Iconic Turn zum Provenancial Turn? Ein Beitrag zur Methodendiskussion in der Kunstwissenschaft
Dr Christoph Zuschlag - July 2020

An article by Prof. Dr. Christoph Zuschlag, who holds the chair in Modern and Contemporary Art History (19th-21st century) with a focus on provenance research and the history of collecting at the University of Bonn, about the increasing impact of the 'provenance turn', that is, the development of provenance studies. He writes that they are connected to numerous cultural studies and humanities subjects, disciplines and discourses and should therefore be investigated in transdisciplinary cooperation. He considers that the 'provenance turn' will have a lasting and profound impact on university art history as well as practical museum work.


A Goudstikker van Goyen in Gdansk: A Case Study of Nazi-Looted Art in Poland
Dr Patricia Kennedy Grimsted - June 2020

A Van Goyen from the Goudstikker collection illustrates the many “missing” Dutch paintings sold to Nazi-era German museums in cities that became part of postwar Poland where viable claims procedures for Holocaust victims and heirs are still lacking. It also raises important issues in provenance research for still-displaced Nazi-looted art.

Kunstfund Gurlitt. Wege der Forschung“ (Gurlitt Art Trove: Research Pathways)
Eds Andrea Baresel-Brand, Nadine Bahrmann and Gilbert Lupfer - May 2020

Reflecting the latest research and illuminating lesser-known aspects of the Gurlitt case. 

The Berlin Masterpieces in America: Paintings, Politics, and the Monuments Men
Peter Jonathan Bell and Kristi A. Nelson - April 2020

As the Allies advanced into Germany in April 1945, General Patton’s Third Army discovered the collections of the Berlin State Museums. The US military government ordered that 202 “works of art of greatest importance” be sent on a whistle-stop tour of 13 US cities. This fully illustrated volume is the first to examine the entire journey of the “202” and its historical-political implications.

Fritz Bauer: The Jewish Prosecutor Who Brought Eichmann and Auschwitz to Trial
Ronen Steinke, translated by Sinead Crowe - April 2020

Fritz Bauer (1903–1968) played a key role in the arrest of Adolf Eichmann and the initiation of the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. There was a Jewish Museum exhibition in 2014 and then a film about Fritz Bauer as an Unlikely Movie Hero. Now an English translation of Ronen Steinke’s acclaimed biography has been published by Indiana University Press.

Dissent and Displacement
Monica Petzal - February 2020

Celebrating storytelling and the ways in which we reflect on our lives, Monica Petzal explores German-Jewish refugee heritage, the themes of persecution, opposition and persistence through a series of 36 large-scale handmade lithographs. The book complements the exhibition 'Dissent and Displacement - A Modern Story'.

The Nazi Confiscation of Wanda Landowska’s Musical Collection and Its Aftermath
Carla Shapreau - January 2020

About the renowned harpsichordist and piano soloist, Wanda Landowska, a Polish Jew, whose musical collection was confiscated by the Nazi Sonderstab Musik in Paris in May 1940 and transported to Germany, some of it found by the Allies in May 1945. Carla Shapreau documents this history,what was recovered and how much remains missing today.

Terezín Declaration – Ten Years Later: Conference Proceedings
- January 2020

The published proceedings of the international academic conference held in Prague on 18-19 June, 2019 which reviewed progress since the 2009 Terezin Declaration are available here.

The Demise of the World of the Gutnajers: The Warsaw Art Market in World War II
Nawojka Cieslinska-Lobkowicz - January 2020

Nawojka Cieslinska-Lobkowicz explores the salons of the brothers Bernard and Abe Gutnajer, among a substantial number of Jewish art and antiques dealers who operated in pre-World War II Warsaw. Virtually everyone in their milieu perished in the Warsaw ghetto or Treblinka. Taking their place were new “Aryan” dealers and a clientele of “new” money. The Warsaw art market under the German occupation experienced a particular growth between the start of the Jewish ghetto’s liquidation in mid-1942 and the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, as “abandoned” property flooded the market.

Warum ein „Restatement of Restitution Rules for Nazi-Confiscated Art"? Das Beispiel „Fluchtgut" (The example of 'Flight goods')
Matthias Weller and Anne Dewey - January 2020

Matthias Weller and Anne Dewey write about the concept of 'Flight Goods' in the context of the German government-funded project to 're-state the Washington Principles'.

Contested Heritage. Jewish Cultural Property after 1945
Eds Elisabeth Gallas, Anna Holzer-Kawalko, Caroline Jessen and Yfaat Weiss - January 2020

Seventeen essays on the political and cultural implications of Jewish cultural property looted and displaced during the Holocaust.

Museumsblätter. Mitteilungen des Museumsverbandes Brandenburg
- December 2019

Provenienzforschung: Bilanz und neue Wege: NS-Raubgut in technikhistorischen Sammlungen, Kriegsverluste märkischer Sammlungen, SBZ und DDR im Fokus der Provenienzforschung, Globale Geschichte in lokalen Museen?

Updating Records of Nazi Art Looting from an Art Dealer’s Archive: A Case Study from Gustav Cramer’s Archive at the Getty
Isabella Zuralski-Yeager - December 2019

The Gustav Cramer gallery in The Hague from 1938 was active throughout the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, and existed until 2007. The gallery records are believed to be complete and document dealings with Nazi agents and other art dealers known for engagement in trade with the Nazis. The paper explores the research potential of Cramer’s archive for a critical review of the inventory cards and to establish its significance for provenance research of artworks looted by the Nazis.

Collecting and Provenance: A Multidisciplinary Approach
Edited by Jane Milosch and Nick Pearce - November 2019

The book explores the subject as a cross-disciplinary activity and raises wide-ranging issues including aspects of authenticity, cultural meaning and material transformation and economic and commercial drivers, as well as collector and object biography.

Handreichung: Guidelines concerning the implementation of the Joint Declaration
Germany Federal Ministry of Culture and Media - November 2019
Les "anonymes" de la Résistance en France: 1940-1942 Motivations et engagements de la première heure
Limore Yagil - October 2019

Professor Limore Yagil challenges the widely disseminated image of a France sinking into Vichysism and collaboration by exploring the "anonymous" of the Resistance, the forgotten ones, those early heroes who dared to act by rejecting collaboration with Germany, thanks to whom the work of the Resistance could be accomplished, such as hoteliers, smugglers, social workers and doctors, priests, policemen, high school students, intellectuals, civil servants, teachers, pastors.

Morton Bernath. Ein Kunsthistoriker wird Kunsthändler
Anja Heuß - October 2019

About the Jewish art historian and dealer Morton Bernath, who had to liquidate his dealership in Stuttgart in 1933. Parts of his stock were auctioned at Hugo Helbing in July 1934.

Documenting the Violin Trade in Paris: The Archives of Albert Caressa and Émile Français, 1930-1945
Carla Shapreau, Christine Laloue, and Jean-Philippe Échard - October 2019

Carla Shapreau, Christine Laloue, and Jean-Philippe Échard confront the subject of provenance in the pre-war and World War II eras through the lens of one of France’s most important violin dealers.  This case study bridges the archival gap between historical records held by the Smithsonian Institution and the Musée de la musique penned by the Parisian violin dealers Caressa & Français and later Emile Français.

The Transfer of Jewish-owned Cultural Objects in the Alpe Adria Region
Dario Brasca, Christian Fuhrmeister, Emmanuele Pellegrini, eds - September 2019

Proceedings of the 2017 Lucca conference with papers by Victoria Reed, Gisèle Lévy, Iva Pasini Trzec, Darija Alujevic, Antonija Mlikota, Dario Brasca, Camilla Da Dalt, Cristina Cudicio, Elena Franchi, Gabriele Anderl, Anneliese Schallmeiner, Irene Bolzon, Fabio Verardo, Antonia Bartoli, Francesca Coccolo and Caterina Zaru. Subjects include Jewish collections in Croatia and Trieste, confiscation of Austrian Jewish collections in Trieste, the dispossession of Italian Jews, and collaborators, post-war trials and restitution.

Hitler's Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich
Mary M. Lane - September 2019

On the fate of the Gurlitt collection and the definitive story of art in the Third Reich and Germany’s ongoing struggle to right the wrongs of the past.

Circulation of Cultural Objects in Russian Law – An Overview
Yulianna Vertinskaya - August 2019

An introduction to the Russian Federation’s cultural property legislation, focusing on the civil and criminal law provisions for cultural property acquisition, commerce, and protection.

Art and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Claudia S. Quiñones Vilá - August 2019

An overview of the ongoing challenges to cultural heritage preservation in the EU, focusing on the UK and Italy, and presenting recommendations for improvement, from a non-EU citizen’s perspective.

Examining The Policy Implications Of The Cassirer Decision
William L. Charron - July 2019

Lawyer William L. Charron on the recent ruling in Cassirer v Thyssen-Bornemisza  Collection Foundation. Charron explores the importance of comity, the facts and outcome in the case, the real question posed by the court whether Spain’s relevant commercial laws are ‘Just and Fair’ and the fairness of the outcome. He concludes that 'a good faith possessor who prevails on the basis of a choice of law ruling and comity, like TBC, succeeds justly. The policy reasons behind such a decision may not accord with sentiments behind the Washington Principles, but those reasons are no less important and worthy.'

llicit trade in cultural goods in Europe
Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (European Commission) - July 2019

The EU's final report on characteristics, criminal justice responses and an analysis of the applicability of technologies in the combat against the trade, available as a PDF on this site.

Spurensuche in der Stadtbibliothek Hannover. Forschungen zu NS-Raubgut in Erwerbungen nach 1945 - Search for clues in the city library Hanover. Research on Nazi looted property in acquisitions after 1945
Jenka Fuchs - July 2019

The Stadtbibliothek (StB) Hannover is currently searching for Nazi-looted property in its collections as part of a provenance research project.While most Nazi-looted research projects at libraries have so far focused on the review of access between 1933 and 1945, the StB follows a newer approach by (also) examining post-war acquisitions. The publication is available on this site.

Gesammelt, gehandelt, geraubt. Kunst in Frankfurt und der Region zwischen 1933 und 1945
Evelyn Brockhoff und Franziska Kiermeier (Hrsg.) - April 2019

Frankfurt in the 1920s was a pulsating city of art and culture, where numerous art collectors and large museums promoted a flourishing art trade. The National Socialists put an abrupt end to this heyday from 1933 onwards. The Nazi regime created a new art business that radically excluded Jewish artists, collectors and dealers and thus produced a gap for profiteers. 16 authors illuminate both central aspects of the robbery and forced expropriation during the Nazi regime and the special role of individuals and museums, including the Städel Museum and Liebieghaus.

Second-Wave Holocaust Restitution, Post-Communist Privatization and the Global Triumph of Neoliberalism in the 1990s
Regula Ludi - March 2019

The author argues that the emergence in the 1990s of a second wave of Holocaust-era restitution claims was not the result of a shift in mentalities leading to the sudden recognition of past wrongs or the surge of repressed memories but rather part of a larger process involving major transformations in global capitalism and property regimes.

The Central Collecting Point in Munich: A New Beginning for the Restitution and Protection of Art
Iris Lauterbach - January 2019

An English translation of the 2015 history of the Central Collecting Point with a focus on the stories of the people who worked there at a time of lingering political suspicions; the research, conservation, and restitution process; and how the works of art were returned to their owners

Warum es nicht funktioniert, keine NS-Provenienzforschung zu betreiben: Ein Bullshit-Bingo anlässlich 20 Jahre Washingtoner Prinzipien und Österreichisches Kunstrückgabegesetz
Markus Stumpf - October 2018

An essay on the 20th anniversary of the Washington Principles and the Austrian art restitution law on the many excuses made by institutions not to carry out Nazi era provenance research, from which the author, Markus Stumpf of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte at the Universität Wien, has devised the game of 'bullshit bingo'.

Die Affäre Deutsch: Braune Netzwerke hinter dem größten Raubkunst-Skandal
Burkhart List - September 2018

Burkhart List tells the story of Austrian Hans Deutsch (1906-2002), whose career as a leading lawyer representing claimants in post-war Germany was destroyed by the German authorities who arrested him on bogus charges. 

A Lost Inheritance: How 1,500 artworks were stolen after WW2
John Buck, illustrator Albert Schaefer-Ast - August 2018

Inherited by his Jewish kindertransport daughter in 1951, the artworks by German cartoonist Albert Schaefer-Ast disappeared for almost 50 years. But then they began to be offered for sale by two art galleries and an auction house in what had formerly been the communist-controlled German Democratic Republic.

Bells in the Cultural Soundscape: Nazi-Era Plunder, Repatriation, and Campanology
Carla Shapreau - August 2018

An essay by Carla Shapreau, Senior Fellow in the Institute of European Studies, Curator in the Department of Music and Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, on how over 175,000 of Europe’s bells were confiscated by the Nazis during World War II. By the war’s end, an estimated 150,000 bells were destroyed, leaving a sonic gap in the European landscape. Bells that remained were repatriated to their countries of origin. Bell losses were remembered at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and remain symbols of community and culture, war and peace.

Hitlers Sonderauftrag Ostmark: Kunstraub und Museumspolitik im Nationalsozialismus - Hitler's Special Mission Austria: Nazi Art Theft and Museum Policy
Birgit Schwarz - June 2018

On Hitler's distribution plan for confiscated Jewish art collections in Austria and the competition between Vienna, the Linz Museum and German museums for the 5,000 most important artworks.

The Obligation of Ownership: An art collection under scrutiny - Provenance Research at the Friedrichshafen Museum
Claudia Emmert, Ina Neddermeyer (Editors) - May 2018

Catalogue of the exhibition showing from 4 May 2018 - 3 February 2019 exploring post-war dealers' networks through whom the German museum acquired many works in its collection whose provenances were far from clean.

System und Methode: NS-Raubkunst in deutschen Museen
Irena Strelow: - January 2018

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.

Handbook on Judaica Provenance Research: Ceremonial Objects
Julie-Marthe Cohen, Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek, and Ruth Jolanda Weinberger - January 2018

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.

"Ein Katalog als Erinnerungsort", Kunst und Recht magazine No. 5/6 2017
Dr Henning Kahmann - December 2017

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.

The “Legitimate” Plundering of Riga’s Apartments. 1944–1949
Jānis Kalnačs - December 2017

The story of what happened to the abandoned possessions of the thousands of Latvians who fled Riga or were deported to Germany leaving their apartments intact.

Restitution und Prüfprogramm: Worauf es ankommt. Kunstchronik, Heft 12, Dezember 2017
Dr Henning Kahmann - December 2017

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.

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
Lynn Rother - November 2017

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.

Der Fall Gurlitt: Die wahre Geschichte über Deutschlands größten Kunstskandal
Maurice Philip Remy - October 2017

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.

Feindliche Gewalten: Das Ringen um Gustav Klimts Beethovenfries
Sophie Lillie - October 2017

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.

Notare in der national- sozialistischen "Volksgemeinschaft": Das westfälische Anwaltsnotariat 1933-1945
Michael Kißener and Andreas Roth - October 2017

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.

A Tragic Fate—Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi Looted Art
Nicholas O'Donnell - June 2017

The first comprehensive overview of Nazi-looted art as it has played out in U.S. courtrooms. 

Max J. Friedländer 1867-1958. Aphorismen aus Krieg- und Nachkriegszeit zum 150. Geburtstag
Ed. Suzanne Laemers - 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.

„Ich werde aber weiter sorgen“: NS-Raubkunst in katholischen Kirchen
Irena Strelow - March 2017

The clergy of the Catholic Salvatorkirche in Berlin used their connections to the German Society for Christian Art in Munich and 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

The Fortunate Ones
Ellen Umansky - February 2017

A novel about a Soutine painting linking parents who perished with their child who survived.

Nazi-Looted Art and Its Legacies
Andreas Huyssen, Anson Rabinbach, Avinoam Shalem (Eds) - February 2017

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.

The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance
Anders Rydell - February 2017

Following the librarians seeking to restore the millions of plundered books to their rightful owners.

Cross-border restitution claims of art looted in armed conflicts and wars and alternatives to court litigations
Marc-André Renold - July 2016

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.

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.

Who Owns Bruno Schulz? The Changing Postwar Fortunes of Works of Art by Jewish Artists Murdered in Nazi-Occupied Poland
Nawojka Cieślińska-Lobkowicz - March 2016

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.

Restitution von NS-Raubkunst
Barbara Vogel (Hrsg.) - January 2016

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.

Paul Graupe (1881-1953). Ein Berliner Kunsthändler zwischen Republik, Nationalsozialismus und Exil (A Berlin art dealer caught between the Republic, National Socialism and Exile)
Patrick Golenia, Kristina Kratz-Kessemeier and Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont - December 2015

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.

The Indelible Presence of the Gurlitt Estate
Adam Szymczyk in conversation with Alexander Alberro, Maria Eichhorn, and Hans Haacke - November 2015

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.

M.N.R. (Musées Nationaux récupération): Les tableaux de la guerre : oeuvres récuperées en Allemagne après la Second Guerre mondiale
Guillaume Kazerouni assisté de Régis Couillard et Gwenaël Prost - October 2015

A catalogue of the twelve MNR works of art held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes in France.

The Munich Art Hoard: Hitler's Dealer and His Secret Legacy
Catherine Hickley - September 2015

In tracing the origins of the Munich hoard, the book tells of the shady dealings of the Paris art world in the 1940s and recounts political debates in modern-day Berlin, as politicians and lawyers puzzle over the inadequacies of a legal framework that to this day falls short in securing justice for the heirs of those robbed by the Nazis.

Hitler's Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe's Treasures
Susan Ronald - September 2015

How as an "official dealer" for Hitler and Goebbels, Hildebrand Gurlitt became one of the Third Reich's most prolific art looters. Yet he stole from Hitler too, allegedly to save modern art.

Schwarzbuch Bührle: Raubkunst für das Kunsthaus Zürich? - The Bührle Black Book: Looted Art for the Kunsthaus Zurich?
Thomas Buomberger, Guido Magnaguagno - August 2015

As the Emil Bührle collection is now to move into the planned extension at the Kunsthaus Zurich, designed by David Chipperfield, the authors ask: what are the source of the pictures, are any looted or flight assets, what is the source of the arms dealer's wealth, what was his part in the Nazi regime's art looting, and what is the artistic value of the collection.

The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family’s Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis
Simon Goodman - August 2015

Together with his family, Simon Goodman initiated the first Nazi looting case to be settled in the United States.  Through painstaking detective work across two continents, Simon Goodman has been able to prove that many other works belonged to his grandparents, Fritz and Louise Gutmann, and has successfully secured their return.

Witnessing the Robbing of the Jews A Photographic Album, Paris, 1940-1944
Sarah Gensburger - August 2015

The book tells how the vast enterprise of plunder was implemented in the streets of Paris by analyzing images from an album of photographs found in the Federal Archives of Koblenz, brought from Paris in 1945 and catalogued by the staff of the Munich Central Collecting Point. Beyond bearing witness to the petty acts of larceny, these images provide crucial information on how the Germans saw their work.

Aviso 2015 Raubkunst und Restitution at the Bayerische Staatsgemälde-sammlungen
Bernhard Maaz, Alfred Grimm, Meike Hopp, Stephan Klingen, Andreas Strobl, Astrid Pellengahr, Robert Bierschneider - July 2015

To read the 2015 report on research and restitution at the Bavarian State Paintings Collections Munich, click here.

L'Impossible Réparation
Jean-Marc Dreyfus - January 2015

A history of French negotiations with Germany between 1944 and 2001 for reparations for deportations, spoliation, war crimes and seized bank accounts.

Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust
Michael J. Bazyler and Frank M. Turkheimer - November 2014

Ten “forgotten trials” of the Holocaust, selected from the many Nazi trials that have taken place over the course of the last seven decades.

Museums and Restitution, New Practices, New Approaches
Edited by Louise Tythacott, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK, and Kostas Arvanitis, University of Manchester, UK - September 2014
Holocaust-Era Looted Art: A Current World-Wide Overview
Dr Wesley A. Fisher and Dr Ruth Weinberger - September 2014

Report by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and World Jewish
Restitution Organization

Provenance Research in American Institutions
Jane C. Milosch, Lynn H. Nicholas and Megan M. Fontanella (guest editors) - August 2014

A series of essays by American experts, including Nancy Yeide, Christian Huemer and Laurie Stein. 

NS-Raubkunst auf der Spur: Provenienzforschung an der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek
Susanne Wanninger and Dr Stephan Kellner - July 2014

A review of provenance research conducted at the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) since 2003.

The Vienna Archives: Musical Expropriation During the Nazi Era and 21st Century Ramifications
Dr Carla J. Shapreau - June 2014

A study on the displacement and loss of musical instruments and associated items in Austria during the Nazi-era.

Der Fall Gurlitt
Stefan Koldehoff, Ralf Oehmke and Raimund Stecker - April 2014
Archivist Monuments Man: Lester K. Born
Dr Greg Bradsher - April 2014

The next installment in an ongoing series of posts on real-life Monuments Men.

Die Bilder sind unter uns. Das Geschäft mit der NS-Raubkunst und der Fall Gurlitt
Stefan Koldehoff - April 2014

An updated and revised version of Stefan Koldehoff's 2009 book with a new chapter on the Gurlitt case.

Monuments Men Records at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland
Dr Greg Bradsher and Dr Sylvia Naylor - March 2014
Ravaged. Art and Culture in Times of Conflict
Jo Tollebeek and Eline van Assche (eds.) - March 2014

A publication accompanying the exhibition Ravaged at the M - Museum Leuven.

Spurensuche: Silber aus ehemals jüdischem Besitz im Sammlungsbestand des Münchner Stadtmuseums
Vanessa Voigt - March 2014

A review of silver objects formerly in Jewish ownership in the holdings of the Münchner Stadtmuseums

The Loss of French Musical Property During World War II: Post-War Repatriations, Restitutions, and 21st Century Ramifications
Carla Shapreau - January 2014

The nature and scope of French music-related losses during the Nazi era, the status of post-war recoveries, and what remains missing today.

Der NS-verfolgungsbedingte Entzug von Kunstwerken und deren Restitution
Leonie Schwarzmeier - January 2014

A legal history study of the Nazi expropriation of art work and its restutition.

Chabad Sacred Texts, Russian-American Art Loans and a Tall Ship named 'Hope': Beyond Cold War over a Restitution Claim?
Patricia Kennedy Grimsted - December 2013

On the claim for the Schneersohn ‘Library’ and ‘Archive’ pending in the US courts.

Livres pillés, lectures surveillées: Les bibliothèques françaises sous l'Occupation
Martine Poulain - November 2013

An updated and revised version of Martine Poulain's 2008 book.

Zwischen Politik und Kunst: Die Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus.
Jörn Grabowski, Petra Winter (eds) - October 2013
Between Politics and Art: The State Museums of Berlin in the Time of National Socialism
Monuments Men and Nazi Treasures
Dr Greg Bradsher - October 2013

On the myriad problems faced by US Occupation Forces in sorting out the riches hidden by the Third Reich.  

Mission Michelangelo. Wie die Bergleute von Altaussee Hitlers Raubkunst vor der Vernichtung retteten
Konrad Kramar - September 2013
Mission Michelangelo: How the Miners of Altaussee Saved the Art Looted by HItler from Destruction.
Returned from Russia: Nazi Archival Plunder in Western Europe and Recent Restitution Issues
edited by Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, F.J. Hoogewoud and Eric Ketelaar - September 2013
The Art Collecting Legal Handbook
Bruno Boesch; Massimo Sterpi, Eds - May 2013
Cultural Heritage and Arts Review
Cultural Heritage and Arts Interest Group of the American Society of International Law - December 2012
Journal of the Cultural Heritage and Arts interest group of the American Society of International Law (ASIL). 
Erkanntes und Erlebtes Die Geschichte eines Buches des protestantischen Gelehrten Wilhelm Wundt aus dem Besitz des jüdischen Apothekers Leopold Scheyer
Karin Andert, Niko Kohls - December 2012
The tracing of the history of a book and its owner by two fellows of the Samueli Institute in Virginia, USA, Acquired at online auction from the Free University Library in Berlin, the book was looted and bore the name 'Leopold Scheyer'. Andert and Kohls discovered the tragic history of Scheyer and returned the book to his family.
Kraftfahrzeuge als Gegenstand von »Arisierungen«: Provenienzforschung zur Kraftfahrzeug- sammlung des Deutschen Museums und Forschungen zur Enteignung von Kraftfahrzeugen in Bayern
Oliver Kühschelm - December 2012

Motor Vehicles as an Object of "Aryanisation": Provenance Research on the Vehicle Collection at the Deutsches Museum Munich and Research on the Expropriation of Motor Vehicles in Bavaria.

Kunstschutz, Kunstraub, Restitution. Neue Forschungen zur Geschichte und Nachgeschichte des Nationalsozialismus
Christian Welzbacher - November 2012
A review of mostly German language publications since 1998 within the field of Nazi-looted art theft and restitution.
Die historische sammlung Otto Gerstenberg
Julietta Scharf and Hanna Strzoda - November 2012
Buchraub in Salzburg - Bibliotheks- und Provenienzforschung an der Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg
Ursula Schachl-Raber, Helga Embacher, Andreas Schmoller, Irmgard Lahner - October 2012
Saisies, spoliations et restitutions: Archives et bibliothèques au XXe siècle
Alexandre Sumpf et Vincent Laniol (dir.). Denis Rolland (collab.) - August 2012
Restitution von NS-Raub- und Beutekunst
Article by Andrea Bambi for the Historisches Lexikon Bayern - June 2012
Objects and Emotions: Loss and Acquisition of Jewish Property
German Historical Institute London Bulletin Vol 34 (2012), No. 1 - May 2012
Introduction by Andreas Gestrich and Daniel Wildmann,  three essays by Atina Grossman, Hanno Loewy and Norman Palmer, and a review by Chloe Paver, arising from a workshop in July 2010.
Fast vergessen: Das amerikanische Bücherdepot in Offenbach am Main von 1945 bis 1949
Gabriele Hauschke-Wicklaus (Autor), Angelika Amborn-Morgenstern (Autor), Erika Jacobs (Autor), Geschichtswerkstatt Offenbach am Main (Herausgeber) - April 2012
Aufbruch in die Moderne. Sammler, Mäzene und Kunsthändler in Berlin 1880–1933
Julius H. Schoeps, Anna-Dorothea Ludewig, Ines Sonder (eds) - March 2012
Kunsthistoriker im Krieg – Deutscher Militärischer Kunstschutz in Italien 1943–1945
Christian Fuhrmeister, Johannes Griebel, Stephan Klingen and Ralf Peters, eds. - February 2012
The Visual Arts in Vienna c. 1900; Reflections on the Jewish Catastrophe
E. H. Gombrich - February 2012
A lecture given in 1996 on the occasion of the seminar 'Fin De Siècle Vienna and its Jewish Cultural Influences'.
Kurt Martin und das Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg
Tessa Friederike Rosebrock - February 2012
NS-Provenienz-forschung an österreichischen Bibliotheken. Anspruch und Wirklichkeit
Bruno Bauer, Christina Köstner-Pemsel, Markus Stumpf, eds. - November 2011
Taking it Personally: The Individual Liability of Museum Personnel
Ruth Redmond-Cooper and Norman Palmer, eds - November 2011
Neglected Witnesses: The Fate of Jewish Ceremonial Objects during the Second World War and After
Julie-Marthe Cohen with Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek eds - September 2011
Kunstwerte im Wandel: Die Preisentwicklung der deutschen Moderne im nationalen und internationalen Kunstmarkt 1925 bis 1955
Gesa Jeuthe - September 2011
A detailed study of the trade in modernist masters particularly in the Third Reich.
Nazi Art Theft: Still Unsolved
Max Amichai Heppner - June 2011
Booklet posted online about the theft of paintings from the dealer, Albert Heppner, in Amsterdam and his son's continuing search for them.  To read the booklet, click here.
La Restitution des Oeuvres d'Art, Solutions et Impasses
Corinne Herskovitch & Didier Rykner - February 2011
Nazi Art Thefts Fiction
Various - January 2011
To see a list of fiction works, click here
Cultural Heritage & Arts Review
American Society of International Law - January 2011
Second issue of the Journal, with articles on restitution, immunity from seizure, US state laws, protection of cultural property in war, and other issues.
Chart of Dismissed (US) Federal Holocaust Claims
Jennifer Anglim Kreder - July 2010
History of US Executive Policy since WW11
Jennifer Anglim Kreder - July 2010
Hermann Voss – Direktor der Gemäldegalerie Dresden und „Sonderbeauftragter für Linz“. Ein Kunsthistoriker zwischen Museumspolitik und Forschung im Wandel des 20. Jahrhunderts
Kathrin Iselt - May 2010

Kathrin Iselt
"Hermann Voss – Direktor der Gemäldegalerie Dresden und „Sonderbeauftragter für Linz“. Ein Kunsthistoriker zwischen Museumspolitik und Forschung im Wandel des 20. Jahrhunderts.“


Kathrin Iselt
„Hermann Voss – Direktor der Gemäldegalerie Dresden und „Sonderbeauftragter für Linz“. Ein Kunsthistoriker zwischen Museumspolitik und Forschung im Wandel des 20. Jahrhunderts.“
Technische Universität Dresden

Die Tätigkeit von Prof. Dr. Hermann Voss (1884-1969), der von 1943 bis 1945 Direktor der Dresdner Gemäldegalerie und „Sonderbeauftragter für Linz“ war, ist zentraler Untersuchungsgegenstand des Promotionsvorhabens. Dabei gilt es aber nicht nur seine Arbeitsfelder zwischen den Jahren 1943 und 1945 zu untersuchen, sondern sich vielmehr dem Kunsthistoriker monographisch zu widmen. Aus zweierlei Gründen scheint dies dringend geboten: zum einen, um die Brüche und Kontinuitäten in der Karriere eines bedeutenden, bis heute jedoch unerforschten Kunstwissenschaftlers und Gemäldeexperten auszuloten, zum anderen, um ein eklatantes Desiderat in der wissenschaftsgeschichtlichen Forschung zur Kunstgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts zu schließen. So stehen seine kunstwissenschaftlichen Forschungen – allen voran zur Malerei des Seicento und Settecento - und kennerschaftlichen Fähigkeiten ebenso zur Diskussion wie seine Aktivitäten für diverse Gemäldegalerien und Sammlungen in Berlin, Leipzig, Wiesbaden und Dresden.
Insbesondere sind die Leerstellen in den Historiographien jener Museen zu füllen, in denen Hermann Voss während der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus eine zentrale Stellung einnahm – die Städtische Gemäldegalerie des Nassauischen Landesmuseums Wiesbaden und die Staatliche Gemäldegalerie Dresden. Desgleichen wird der Frage nachgegangen, unter welchen Bedingungen und Voraussetzungen Hermann Voss zum „Sonderbeauftragten“ Adolf Hitlers avancieren konnte und inwieweit er sein neues „Aufgabenfeld“ auszufüllen wusste. Dabei liegt ein Schwerpunkt auf der Erforschung der institutionellen Schnittstellen, die – bedingt durch die von Voss in Personalunion geführten Direktorien - zwischen den Gemäldegalerien von Wiesbaden und Dresden und dem „Sonderauftrag Linz“ bestanden.

ISBN: 978-3-412-20572-0


Rezensiert für H-Soz-u-Kult von:
Petra Winter, Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
E-Mail: <>

„Sonderbeauftragter des Führers“ – wird man dieses Etikett je wieder los? Würde sich die kunsthistorische und historische Zunft des Museumsmannes und Kunsthistorikers Hermann Voss erinnern, wenn er nicht für zwei Jahre der Sonderbeauftragte für Adolf Hitlers geplantes Führermuseum in Linz gewesen wäre? Und wie wurde man überhaupt Hitlers oberster Kunstbeauftragter? Wie fügte sich eine solch exponierte Position ein in eine Wissenschaftler- und Museumskarriere, die im Kaiserreich begann und vier politische Systeme überdauerte? Schon diese Fragen zeigen die Spannungsfelder auf, in denen man sich zwangsläufig zu bewegen und zu bewähren hat, wenn man sich der schwierigen Aufgabe der Biographie einer der beiden Sonderbeauftragten für Hitlers Museumspläne stellt. Während eine umfassende historische Studie zu Hans Posse, dem ersten „Sonderbeauftragten“ und, in Personalunion, Direktor der Gemäldegalerie Dresden, noch immer fehlt, schließt nun die von der Kunsthistorikerin Kathrin Iselt vorgelegte Biographie zu Hermann Voss, Posses Nachfolger in beiden Ämtern, eine Forschungslücke.

Der Titel des Buches formuliert dabei zugleich den umfassenden monographischen Ansatz als auch die notwendige Schwerpunktsetzung auf Voss’ Tätigkeit für das Linzer Museumsprojekt 1943-1945, der das umfangreichste Kapitel des Buches gewidmet ist. Den zweiten Schwerpunkt bilden die Jahre zwischen 1935 und 1945, in denen Voss Direktor der Städtischen Gemäldegalerie Wiesbaden war. Dieses Amt übte er weiterhin ehrenamtlich aus, als er 1943 zu Posses Nachfolger in Dresden ernannt wurde. So ist die zeitliche Überschneidung der Kapitel hier durchaus Absicht und Ausdruck der klugen, nicht einfach chronologisch angelegten Gliederung der Studie. Anhand von unzähligen bislang unbekannten oder zumindest nie im Zusammenhang ausgewerteten Quellen entsteht ein facettenreiches Bild der gesamten Karriere dieses renommierten, aber im Wesentlichen unerforschten deutschen Kunsthistorikers. Dazu stützt sich die Autorin auf eine unglaublich breite Quellenbasis, die das solide Fundament der Studie bildet. Vor allem in den Archiven der Museen, in denen Voss tätig war, aber auch in den Überlieferungen vorgesetzter Behörden und in Nachlässen wurden hier bislang unbeachtete archivalische Schätze gehoben, die für weitere historische Studien zu verwandten Themen eine wertvolle Grundlage bilden werden.

Die Museumskarriere von Hermann Voss begann 1908 in Berlin an den Königlich Preußischen Kunstsammlungen. Unter dem prägenden Einfluss des mächtigen Berliner Museumsgenerals Wilhelm von Bode eignete sich Voss die Grundlagen für seine späteren Erfolge als Wissenschaftler und Gemäldeexperte an und entwickelte jene Methode, die seine allgemein anerkannte Kennerschaft auszeichnen sollte: „die Synthese zwischen wissenschaftlicher Quellenanalyse und sich am Original orientierender Stilkritik“ (S. 25). Da Voss 1922 als Kustos an die Berliner Gemäldegalerie zurückkehrte, sind diese Lehrjahre für Voss’ Karriere bedeutsam, und Iselt beweist hier wie auch in anderen Kapiteln ein gutes Gespür für ‚Handlungsstränge’. Von 1912 bis 1921 war Voss Leiter der Graphischen Sammlung am Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, wo er nicht nur an einer Neuordnung der Sammlung, sondern auch an seiner Habilitationsschrift arbeitete, die 1920 erschien und bald zum Standardwerk über die „Malerei der Spätrenaissance in Rom und Florenz“ avancierte.

Voss’ Rückkehr nach Berlin 1922 erscheint folgerichtig und Iselts Analyse seiner vielfältigen Tätigkeitsfelder als Kustos der Gemäldegalerie an den nunmehr Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin deckt all jene Kontakte, Erfahrungen, Netzwerke auf, die Voss im weiteren Verlauf seiner Karriere beherzt zu nutzen verstand. Es war nicht nur das großstädtische Klima, sondern auch „der enge Kontakt zu seinem Mentor Wilhelm von Bode sowie die starke Einbindung der Berliner Sammlungen in den nationalen wie internationalen Kunsthandel“ (S. 59), die für Voss von nicht zu unterschätzender Bedeutung waren.

1935 bekam Voss’ Karriere, so scheint es, einen Knick, als er zum Direktor der Städtischen Kunstsammlung am Nassauischen Landesmuseum Wiesbaden berufen wurde und nicht wie erhofft den Berliner Direktorenposten von Max J. Friedländer, der als jüdischer Galeriedirektor 1933 aus dem Amt gedrängt wurde, übernehmen konnte. Iselt kommt hier der Verdienst zu, Voss’ spätere und in der Forschung häufig kolportierte Darstellung über seinen politisch motivierten Weggang von Berlin, seine Degradierung aus politischen Gründen mit aussagekräftigen Quellen zu entkräften. Damit ist auch nicht länger die Sicht versperrt auf Voss’ weitere, nun gradlinig verlaufende Karriere im NS-Staat. Bislang verlor man sich hier in Vermutungen: Wieso wurde gerade Voss zu Posses Nachfolger berufen? Hätte Voss tatsächlich als NS-Kritiker gegolten, hätte er auch in Wiesbaden nicht Museumsdirektor werden können. Die Gründe für seinen Weggang aus Berlin waren viel simpler: Nach dem Ausscheiden von Friedländer war nicht Voss als langjähriger Kustos auf den Direktorenposten berufen worden, sondern Karl Koetschau, der schon einmal von 1909 bis 1913 stellvertretender Galeriedirektor in Berlin gewesen war. Damit sah Voss, knapp 50 Jahre alt, an den Berliner Museen keine berufliche Perspektive mehr für sich – was sich allerdings nach Kriegsende den alliierten Besatzungsmächten als „politisch motiviert“ verkaufen ließ. All dies kann Iselt anhand der Quellen überzeugend darlegen.

Voss’ Amtszeit in Wiesbaden nimmt in seiner Karriere zweifellos eine Schlüsselstellung ein, wurde aber bislang in der Forschung nicht reflektiert. Zwar identifizierte er sich zu keinem Zeitpunkt mit dem nationalsozialistischen Gedankengut. Dennoch hatte er keinerlei Skrupel, die auf Anweisung der Reichskammer der bildenden Künste bereits 1933, also vor seinem Amtsantritt, in die Depots verbannten, als „entartet“ gebrandmarkten Kunstwerke im großen Stil gegen „ausstellungsfähige“ Werke in dem Bewusstsein einzutauschen, dass es nur eine Frage der Zeit sein würde, ehe die Reichskammer der bildenden Künste die „sichergestellten“ Werke für eigene Zwecke heranziehen würde. Von weniger als 300 Gemälden waren 161 als „entartet“ eingestuft worden. Da er alle Tausch- und Ankaufsgeschäfte genehmigen lassen musste, sind seine Aktivitäten als Galeriedirektor anhand der überlieferten Akten in Form von Anträgen samt Begründungen gut rekonstruierbar, wie Iselt anhand mehrerer Beispiele darstellt. Leider werden prägnante Beispiele zu oft nicht im Text behandelt, sondern in die ausufernden Anmerkungen verbannt. Dies ist der Argumentation und vor allem dem Lesefluss abträglich und führt zudem zu Redundanzen. Dem Leser sei die anstrengende Lektüre der Anmerkungen trotzdem empfohlen, da sie neben eminent wichtigen argumentativen Details auch viele hilfreiche Hinweise und Ergänzungen auf flankierende Quellen oder Forschungsliteratur enthalten.

Im Frühjahr 1943 übernahm Hermann Voss in Personalunion die Leitung der Gemäldegalerie Dresden und des „Sonderauftrags Linz“. Das umfangreichste Kapitel der Studie bietet damit einen hervorragenden Einstieg in den aktuellen Forschungsstand zum „Sonderauftrag“ und zu angrenzenden Forschungsfeldern wie der Provenienzforschung, die in diesem Zusammenhang nahezu ausschließlich die Suche nach NS-verfolgungsbedingt entzogenem Kunstgut, insbesondere aus jüdischem Besitz meint. Während Hans Posses Aktivitäten als Sonderbeauftragter von Birgit Schwarz bereits gut erforscht sind [1], gelingt es Iselt nun überzeugend, die Rolle von Hermann Voss herauszuarbeiten. Dazu analysiert sie sowohl die politischen Rahmenbedingungen als auch die legislativen und administrativen Strukturen im NS-Staat, die ein Unternehmen wie den „Sonderauftrag Linz“ erst möglich machten. Dabei ist dem „Vorbehalt des Führers bei der Verwendung eingezogener Kunstsammlungen“ ein Exkurs gewidmet, der den Leser tief in die Problematik der beschlagnahmten jüdischen Kunst- und Kulturgüter hineinführt und dem Laien eine Ahnung davon zu geben vermag, wie schwierig sich in der Regel Recherchen nach der Herkunft einzelner in dieser Zeit abhanden gekommener Kunstwerke bis heute gestalten.

Während seiner Dresdner Zeit konzentrierte sich Voss vor allem auf die Erwerbungstätigkeit für Linz – und für Wiesbaden, denn die dortige Galerie führte er ehrenamtlich weiter. Die Ankäufe für die Dresdner Galerie hielten sich dagegen mangels Etat in Grenzen, doch für das Linzer Museum erwarb er Kunstwerke regelrecht im Akkord: Allein zwischen April 1943 und März 1944 wurden 881 Gemälde angekauft. Von April 1942 bis März 1943 waren es 122 Gemälde gewesen. Diese Zahlen werfen viele Fragen auf, die Iselt in ihrer Studie nicht alle beantworten kann und soll. Dass Voss sich dabei nicht scheute, beschlagnahmtes jüdisches Kunstgut zu erwerben oder in Tauschgeschäfte einzubeziehen, war schon für seine Wiesbadener Zeit dezidiert belegt worden und bestätigte sich nun auch in seinem Agieren als „Sonderbeauftragter“. Das Netz der Kunsthändler, Agenten und Sammler, welches Voss für die Ankaufstätigkeit im In- und Ausland nutzte, bringt auch höchst problematische Verquickungen ans Licht: Eine Sonderstellung nahm beispielsweise das Dorotheum in Wien ein, ein Auktionshaus, welches in großem Stil mit beschlagnahmtem jüdischen Kunst- und Kulturgut handelte. Als Gegenleistung für die erfolgreichen Geschäfte, die das Haus mit dem „Sonderauftrag“ abschloss, durfte sich die Wiesbadener Galerie über zahlreiche Schenkungen des Dorotheums freuen.

Nach der Bombardierung Dresdens im Februar 1945 zog sich Voss mit seiner Frau auf Schloss Weesenstein bei Pirna zurück, einem zentralen Auslagerungsort zahlreicher Kunstwerke. Einmal mehr zeigt sich hierbei die verhängnisvolle und folgenreiche Verzahnung der drei Ämter von Voss, denn durch die gemeinsame Bergung der Bestände aus unterschiedlichen Provenienzen waren die Probleme der Nachkriegszeit vorprogrammiert. Diesen entzog sich Voss schließlich sehr elegant, indem er – einen Rapport beim Wiesbadener Bürgermeister vorschützend – im Juli 1945 Dresden Richtung Westen verließ, wo er von den Amerikanern festgesetzt und vernommen wurde. Diese Protokolle der „Art Looting Investigation Unit“, die vor allem Voss’ eigene Version seiner Tätigkeit vermitteln, bilden bis heute eine maßgebliche Quelle für die Bewertung von Voss’ Rolle im „Sonderauftrag Linz“. Sie werden nun von Iselt kritisch hinterfragt und durch andere Quellen in vielem widerlegt.

Iselts geradezu wegweisende historisch-biographische Studie lässt kaum einen Wunsch offen – höchstens den nach einer ähnlich komplex angelegten, aus dem umfangreich vorhandenen Quellenmaterial schöpfenden Biographie von Voss’ Amtsvorgänger Hans Posse.

[1] Birgit Schwarz, Hitlers Museum. Die Fotoalben der Gemäldegalerie Linz: Dokumente zum „Führermuseum“, Wien 2004.

Review from Kunstchronik 'Kunstmarkt und Karriere' by Dr Christian Fuhrmeister
Click here.
Restituting Looted Cuban Art
Mari-Claudia Jiménez - February 2010
Bridges from the Reich
Jonathan Petropoulos - November 2009
The Backlash Against Claimants
Sophie Lillie - June 2009
Artful Tom
Thomas Hoving - April 2009
A memoir by Thomas Hoving, a former Director of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, published in serial form in Artnet Magazine.  
Nazi Looted Art in the Second Circuit: Recent Developments
Jennifer Anglim Kreder and Lucille Roussin - April 2009
Vlug Report 25 December 1945
Jean Vlug - March 2009
The confidential Detailed Interrogation Report No. 1 on the art looting activities of Kajetan Mühlmann and the Dienststelle Mühlmann dated 25 December 1945 is made available here in its entirety (218 pages).
Legal and Ethical Problems in Art Restitution
Kreder, Dugot, Kline, Rousseau - February 2009
Pictures at an Exhibition
Sara Houghteling - February 2009
A novel about a family's attempt to recover works of art looted by the Nazis during the occupation of France. 
Nazi-Era Art Claims in the United States:10 years after the Washington Conference
David Rowland - February 2009
A paper given by New York lawyer, David Rowland, at the New York Federal Bar Council Winter Bench and Bar Conference 16 February 2009.
Verlorene Bilder, verlorene Leben. Jüdische Sammler und was aus ihren Kunstwerken wurde
Melissa Müller and Monika Tatzkow - January 2009
(Lost Pictures, Lost Lives: Jewish collectors and the fate of their works of art)
Art of the Defeat, France 1940-1944
Laurence Bertrand Dorléac - January 2009
An unflinching look at the art scene in France during the Nazi occupation.
Kunst-Transfers. Thesen und Visionen zur Restitution von Kunstwerken
Stefan Koldehoff, Gilbert Lupfer, Martin Roth (eds) - December 2008
(Art Transfers. Theses and Visions concerning the restitution of works of art)
Karl Haberstock. Umstrittener Kunsthändler und Mäzen
Horst Keßler - November 2008
(Karl Haberstock: Controversial art dealer and patron)
Robbing the Jews: The Confiscation of Jewish Property in the Holocaust, 1933–1945
Martin Dean - November 2008
The first fully comprehensive study on the confiscation of Jewish property in the Holocaust.
Livres pillés, lectures surveillés: les bibliothèques françaises sous l'Occupation
Martine Poulain - October 2008
The first book on the looting of millions of books in France from public and private libraries during WW2, written by Martine Poulain, Director of the INHA library, Paris.
The Shameful Peace
Frederic Spotts - October 2008
The first full account of how France's artistic leaders, Gide and Celine, Picasso and Matisse, Cortot and Messiaen, and Cocteau and Gabin, lived under the German occupation, recording the compromises and treacheries of some of the intellectual community.
Looted! Current questions regarding the cultural looting by the National Socialists in Europe
Marie-Paul Jungblut (ed) - October 2008
Documentation of an exhibition in Luxembourg on art looting by the Nazis and contributions to an international symposium during the exhibition in October 2005.
.. wesentlich mehr Fälle als ange- nommen: 10 Jahre Kommission für Provenienzforschung
Gabriele Anderl et al - October 2008
The first ten years of the Austrian Commission for Provenance Research, established in 1998 under the 1998 Austrian restitution legislation, to undertake research in Austrian federal collections to identify Nazi-looted cultural property.
Looting and Restitution: Jewish-Owned Cultural Artifacts from 1933 to the Present
Inka Bertz and Michael Dorrmann (eds) - September 2008
The catalogue from the Jewish Museum Berlin's eponymous exhibition.  
An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia
Tim Tzouliadis - July 2008
Gvilim Nisrafim v'Otiot Porhot (Burning Scrolls and Flying Letters)
Dov Schidorsky - June 2008
The story of the preservation by the Nazis of Jewish book collections and their redistribution after the war by Jewish and American organisations.
Returned from Russia: Nazi Archival Plunder in Western Europe and Recent Restitution Issues
Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, F G Hoogewoud, Eric Ketelaar, eds - November 2007
The Banker's Daughter
Caroline Thonger - November 2007

The story of the family of Max Steinthal, director of the Deutsche Bank in Berlin, and his daughter Eva, whose lives and great art collection were devastated by the Nazis.  

Eine Debatte ohne Ende? Raubkunst und Restitution im deutschsprachigen Raum
Julius H Schoeps and Anna-Dorothea Ludewig, eds - September 2007
Proceedings of a conference held in Potsdam 22-24 April 2007.
Restitution von Kunstwerken aus jüdischem Besitz
Sabine Rudolph - August 2007
Legal issues affecting the restitution of artworks in Germany.
Origins Unknown
R E O Ekkart - June 2007
Final report with CD-ROM of the Dutch government's Ekkart Committee.
Nazi Looted Art: Handbuch Kunstrestitution weltweit
Monika Tatzkow, Gunnar Schnabel - February 2007
International art restitution handbook.
Confronting the Perpetrators: A History of the Claims Conference
Marilyn Henry - November 2006
An account of the work of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (the Claims Conference).
Rescuing Da Vinci
Robert M Edsel - November 2006
A rich photographic and written account of the Allies' efforts to save and recover the art treasures looted or threatened by the Nazis.
Rose Valland, la résistance au musée
Corinne Bouchoux - January 2006
Vitalizing Memory: International Perspectives on Provenance Research
American Association of Museums - 2005
Proceedings of the American Association of Museums' International Provenance Research Colloquium held in Washington DC in November 2004.
Nazi Looting: The Plunder of Dutch Jewry During the Second World War
Gerard Aalders - 2004
A comprehensive account of the pillage of Jewish properties during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens
Sophie Lillie - November 2003
A handbook of Vienna's plundered art collections.
Confiscation of Jewish Property in Europe, 1933–1945, New Sources and Perspectives
Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies USHMM 2003 - March 2003
Guide des recherches dans les archives des spoliations et des restitutions
Jean Mattéoli, Catherine Piketty, Christophe Dubois and Fabrice Launay - January 2000

Published as part of the report of the Mission d'étude sur la spoliation des Juifs de France

Looted Art: A Practical Response
Sarah Jackson - February 1999
Symposium in Brussels
Thierry Charlier and Jacques Lust - December 1996
New York Conference "Spoils of War"
Josefine Leistra - January 1995
The Implications for the Museologist in Handling, Safeguarding, Exhibiting or Returning the Collection Arising from Confiscation
Antonio Felipe da Silva Junior - January 1970

On the problem involving acquisition of despoiled works of art, their exhibition in museums and their trading through art galleries/antique dealers as well as some contemporary attempts to return them to their rightful owners.

Spuren der NS-Verfolgung. Provenienzforschung in den kulturhistorischen Sammlungen der Stadt Hannover
Museum August Kestner; Schwartz, Johannes; Vogt, Simone - January 1970

Case-based research results from the provenance research of the City of Hanover based on extensive research in museum, library and city archives.

transfer – Zeitschrift für Provenienzforschung und Sammlungsgeschichte / Journal for Provenan
Eds Ulrike Saß and Christoph Zuschlag - January 1970

This is the second annual edition of the online journal, published at Articles fall into four categories: Interviews, Research Articles (Peer Review), Research Reports and Case Studies. For a complete list of the contents and links to all the articles, please see here.

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