Swire calls on Culture Minister to take action on looted Nazi art

1945 13 July 2005

The Shadow Arts Minister, Hugo Swire has criticised the Minister for Culture, David Lammy, for failing to understand the issues surrounding the return of spoliated Nazi objects and failing to move forward, the process of restitution from British museums and galleries.

He said: "In a departmental question this week, it was made clear that the Minister does not understand the importance of honouring the Government's commitment in 2000 to change legislation to allow for the return of art taken during World War 2.

"Despite the Secretary of State's promise to act on the recommendation of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, she seems to have retreated on that commitment.

"Given the recent commemorations to mark the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War 2 and the ruling by the Vice Chancellor stopping the British museum from returning four Old Master drawings to the Feldmann family looted from them by the Gestapo in 1949, is this not the time to finally deal with this problem? Incidentally, this is a problem that most Museum Trustees and Directors want to see finally resolved.

"The Government's failure to legislate is a disgrace. As an original signatory to the Bretton Woods Agreement in July 1944, the Government should introduce appropriate legislation without delay."
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