Slow Government Action on Return of Looted Art

New York Times 26 June 2009
Compiled by Felicia R Lee

Governments around the world have only slowly found and returned art stolen by the Nazis, according to some representatives of those art owners, who were among those attending an international Holocaust Era Assets Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Bloomberg News reported. The five-day conference began on Friday and includes delegates from some 50 countries, including Jewish victims and their heirs. Their discussions included following the terms of a nonbinding 1998 agreement about Nazi-looted art, known as the Washington principles. Under that pact 44 governments agreed to identify such art in museum collections, make public the results and encourage pre-World War II owners and their heirs to make claims. The agreement also calls for a “just and fair solution” for the victims. According to the Jewish Claims Conference, the Nazis stole about 650,000 artworks. Almost 65 years after the end of World War II, the Art Loss Register, a database of stolen art, lists 70,000 works that are still being sought by the owners.
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