The Free Democratic Party (FDP) proposal states that the aim and role of the proposed foundation would be to live up to Germany's historic responsibility and tackle comprehensively the issue of Nazi-looted art in German public collections. 73 years after the end of the war there are still thousands of suspected looted works of art in German public collections and current structures are not fit for purpose. The existing German Centre for Cultural Property Losses (DZK), set up in 2015, has a conflict of interest: on the one hand its role is to advise museums and fund provenance research; on the other its role is to act as the office of the German Advisory Commission and decide on the admissibility or inadmissibility of individual claim applications. This runs contrary to the Commission's independence, which is essential in order to act as a neutral authority in disputes between public museums and private plaintiffs.
The Bundestag (Parliament) therefore calls on the Federal Government to set up a foundation under the patronage of the German President to investigate all Nazi looted art in German Federal collections and all potential disputes regarding that art. The foundation would act as the office for the German Advisory Commission whose membership would be widened and which could in future be called upon unilaterally by either party to a claim. Both parties would have access to its files. An independent research institute under the foundation's umbrella would investigate all potential cases and submit dossiers to the Commission. All research would be published and collections digitised. The Foundation would encourage all states and local authorities to digitise their collections and make their collections available for the foundation to investigate. The DZK would in the future only deal with art losses relating to the Soviet occupation of Germany, with art seized in East Germany and with art taken by Germany in the colonial period.
To read the full details of the proposal, click here.