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'Kunstschutz, Kunstraub, Restitution. Neue Forschungen zur Geschichte und Nachgeschichte des Nationalsozialismus'

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Kunstschutz, Kunstraub, Restitution. Neue Forschungen zur Geschichte und Nachgeschichte des Nationalsozialismus


Christian Welzbacher


November 2012


At the Washington Conference in 1998 the deputies of 44 states came to the agreement that art theft committed between 1933 and 1945 shall henceforth not be subjected to the statute of limitations. Therefore  the issues of "theft and restitution“ gained a new base and relevance – not only for historical and art historical research, but also under the label of „provenance research“ for museums, heirs, lawyers and the art trade. Within the last years a new abundance of publications concerned with art theft committed by the Nazis, its politico-cultural contexts and its implications after 1945 emerged. This research report will introduce and discuss a selection of new – mostly German language – publications within the field. It will focus on the volumes of academic standard with the topics art theft and restitution in Nazi Germany (Part 1). Afterwards  books concerned with impact and critical reception of the topic shall be examined (Part 2). This will be accompanied by works from journalists and exhibition catalogues that deal with both time frames (Part 3). The field of research is very interdisciplinary – art history, historical research and law interact with each other. A bigger synthesis that brings together the great numbers of new detailed studies, however, is still missing.

To read the essay, click here.

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