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26 November 2018: Germany-USA Joint Declaration on the Implementation of the Washington Principles from 1998

Events and Conferences

The Joint Declaration was signed at the Berlin Conference '20 Years of the Washington Principles' by Monika Grütters and Andreas Goergen for the German government and by Stuart Eizenstat and Thomas Yazdgerdi for the US government.

The Declaration recognises how far both countries 'still have to go to implement the Washington Conference Principles' and urges 'German museums and other collections to expedite the review of their collections' and make 'additional efforts..to locate heirs'.

The Declaration afffirms that the 1998 Washington Principles and the 2009 Terezin Declaration 'apply to public and private collections' while pointing out that 'the latter represents a particular challenge'. The signatories 'call on art auction houses and other private dealers in each of our countries to adhere to the Washington Principles' and notes that 'Germany has recently enabled private collectors to seek government assistance to check the provenance of works in their collections, provided they agree to uphold the Washington Principles'.
The Declaration sets out a new German policy regarding the referral of cases to the German Advisory (Limbach) Commission which until now has required the consent of both parties to a claim. Under the new policy, 'museums and other institutions possessing cultural property, which are supported by the Federal Government, have to consent to mediation by the Commission upon claimants' requests'.

To read the Declaration in English click here and for the German language version click here. The associated German government press release is here.

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