The Return of Beauty: Restitution of Nazi-looted Art in Comparative Perspectives, Online Conference, 2 February 2022, 6.00-8.00 p.m. German time, 7.00-9.00 p.m. Tel Aviv time

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This conference is the culmination of a semester-long, unique course titled ‘Nazi-Looted Art: Law and Provenance Research’, a special collaboration between the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, funded by its programme of excellency (Transdisciplinary Research Area [“TRA”] 4), and Tel-Aviv University. 

Over 75 years have passed since the end of WWII and the issue of Nazi-looted art is still very much present and even growing. Museums and private owners worldwide and in Israel still hold artworks looted from Jews during the Holocaust which have not yet been restituted. In 1998 the Washington Conference set up principles for the restitution of artworks confiscated during the years 1933-1945. The course was the first comprehensive attempt to bring together law and art-history students, from Israel and Germany, and academically teach them two primary disciplines: the legal framework for restitution; and provenance research. The course aimed at providing historical context and research methods, and discussing their interaction with the legal issues raised, such as what can be considered a ‘just and fair solution’ as stipulated in the Washington Principles.

This conference is an opportunity to widen the scope of looted art and go beyond questions of law into politics (Gaudenzi) and philosophy (Kenaan) of restitution as well as beyond the Nazi era into questions arising out of colonial-era looted art and artefacts (Herman). It is also an opportunity to invite the wider public to get acquainted with the subject of looted art and the unique experiences that this course summoned.

We cordially invite you to participate in our video conference. In order to do so, please register with You will receive a confirmation of your registration by email. Please allow us some time to process your registration. On the day before the event, on 1 February 2022, you will receive the access data for the video conference via zoom per email, including our data protection concept. Please note that we intend to record the event to make it afterwards publicly available on the internet and registration includes giving consent to this.


Bianca Gaudenzi,
Deutsches Historisches Intitut, Rome; University of Cambridge, UK; University of Konstanz, Germany
The ‘Return of Beauty’? The politics of restitution of Nazi-looted art in Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria, 1945-1998

Alexander Herman,
Assistant Director, Institute of Art and Law, UK
The Return of Cultural Artefacts – the Post-colonial case

Hagi Kenaan,
Chair, Department of Philosophy, Tel-Aviv University
What is a Hermeneutics of Restitution?



Prof Leora Bilsky,
The Benno Gitter Chair in Human Rights and Holocaust Research, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University; Director, The Minerva Center of Human Rights, Tel Aviv University

Prof Dr Matthias Weller,
Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Professor for Civil Law, Art and Cultural Property Law; Director of the Institute for German and International Civil Procedural Law, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn


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