This site contains two fully searchable databases.
The Information Database contains information and documentation from forty nine countries, including laws and policies, reports and publications, archival records and resources, current cases and relevant websites.
The Object Database contains details of over 25,000 objects of all kinds – paintings, drawings, antiquities, Judaica, etc – looted, missing and/or identified from over fifteen countries.
For a list of Essential Website Links, showing all key research sites and resources,click here.
For details of international resources, see below, Online Resources and Case News.
To subscribe to our looted art newsletter, click here.
30,000 Digitised Art Historical Texts Available Through the Getty
To help bring the international art-historical community into the digital age, the Getty Research Institute (GRI) is building an international, multilingual, multicultural portal of digitized texts for the study of art, architecture, material culture, and related fields. The portal is:
- an authoritative source for complete digital copies of fundamental art-historical works and other texts in the public domain
- free of charge to all users
- a collaborative resource that grows through contributions
As of 28 May 2013, the Getty Research Portal
contains metadata records for approximately 30,000 volumes, with links to full digital copies at the home sites of the contributing institutions. You can search the portal at http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/portal/
.For more information about the Portal, click here
Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen restitute two watercolors by Max Pechstein from the Curt Glaser Collection and a painting by N.V. Díaz de la Peña from the George Behrens Collection
Left: Max Pechstein, White House, 1910, Watercolour and pencil, 14x11 cm, Centre: Max Pechstein, Meadow Valley, 1911, Watercolour and pencil, 15x10 cm, Right: Prof.Dr. Curt Glaser, 1920er Jahre
15 May 2013: The Bavarian State Painting Collections, Munich, have agreed to return two watercolours to the heirs of Professor Curt Glaser, having determined conclusively that the auction of his art collection and library were entirely due to Nazi persecution. Their research also concluded that a painting from the George Behrens collection was the subject of a forced sale between 1935 and 1940 and should also be restituted. To read their decision on the Glaser claim, click here. To read their decision on the Behrens claim, click here.
Left: Narcisse Virgilio Díaz de la Peña, The Wounded Eurydice, 1862 Right: George Behrens, 1955.
Progress On Global Catalogue of Nazi Looted Art Records8 May 2013, London
Two years after the signing of a global agreement in Washington D.C. to widen public access to all records related to looted cultural artefacts from the Nazi era, 22 organisations met in London to discuss progress on the accessibility of material via the International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property
. The project has gained great momentum with an additional nine international cultural organisations joining, an improved online web portal and access to a larger number and range of newly digitised documents. The meeting was opened by Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives and by the US Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Douglas Davidson. For full details, click here
Dutch Restitutions Committee prioritises interest of museum to keep paintings over rights of claimants to restitution
8 May 2013: In an extraordinary decision, the Dutch Restitutions Committee has accepted the justice of the claim of the heirs of Richard Semmel, a Berlin businessman and art collector, to three paintings currently in Dutch museums, but has refused to return two of them on the grounds that the "museums have convincingly demonstrated that the retention of the two paintings is of great importance to their collections and to the museum-going public. On the other hand, the Committee finds that the grandchildren of Semmel’s heir’s interest in restitution carries less weight. As regards the third painting, the Committee opined that it should be returned as " the museum has little or no interest in the painting ...probably because it does not fit in with its collection. The work of art has been in its repository for years and is not exhibited or loaned. Furthermore, the museum acquired the painting at no cost and there are no indications that it has incurred any expenses in regard to it, for example in having the painting restored. On the other hand, the Committee regards the emotional and moral importance of the return to the heir’s grandchildren carries more weight given the museum’s lukewarm interest in retaining the painting".
For full details of the decisions, click here.
Should Stolen Holocaust Art Be Returned? Legal and Policy Perspectives and Recent Case Developments
A paper by New York lawyer David Rowland given to the New York County Lawyers' Association on 21 March 2013 exploring 'Nazi Looted Art Commissions After the 1998 Washington Conference: Comparing the European and American Experiences'. Rowland poses the question whether US museums fulfill their responsibilities under the Washington Conference and the AAM and AAMD guidelines, to which he provides examples from Toledo and Detroit and elsewhere to illustrate that museums are not exploring the merits of the cases but are filing suit against claimants and are prevailing on the grounds of the expiry of limitations. A fair system would require legislation to prevent technical defenses or a European style commission to ensure cases are decided on their merits. To read the paper, click here
. To view the associated chart comparing the percentage of successful and unsuccessful claims through commissions or litigation, click here
German Advisory Commission rules that Flechtheim sale in 1934 was forced sale9 April 2013
: The German Advisory Commission has ruled that a Kokoschka painting In the Ludwig Museum Cologne should be returned to the heirs of Alfred Flectheim. The family had claimed the painting on the grounds that the sale only took place because of persecution by the Nazis, Flechtheim having fled Germany in 1933 and his gallery in Dusseldorf having been taken over by Alexander Vömel. The Museum claimed that Flechtheim was in financial difficulties before the Nazis came to power. The Advisory Commission ruled that "it is to be assumed that Alfred Flechtheim was forced to sell the disputed painting because he was persecuted".
To read the Commission's ruling, click here
. To read the Museum's press statement in which they agree to accept the ruling, click here
Austrian Findbuch (Finding Aid) for Victims of National Socialism
Created by the General Settlement Fund (GSF) and written In German and English, the Findbuch
is a remarkable, essential, new and comprehensive online resource and database. Compiled from the numerous indices and lists obtained by the GSF from cooperating institutions
throughout Austria for the purpose of the GSF's processing of applications for compensation of losses of assets and in rem
restitution, it enables a huge range of important archival and other records relating to individuals and families to be quickly and easily located through its digitised database. It makes it possible to search for persons and companies in file holdings held at the Austrian State Archives and other archives throughout Austria. In addition it is possible to carry out searches in digitised historical address directories and official handbooks
on public offices and institutions.
This data includes, for example, aryanisation files (Arisierungsakten_
and property notices (Vermögensanmeldungen)
from the holdings of the National Socialist Property Transaction Office (Vermögens- verkehrsstelle)
. A list of confiscated assets compiled after the November Pogrom in 1938 can also be called up using the Findbuch
, as can documents and files on Nazi property seizures (1938–1945), the files of the Restitution Commissions at the Provincial Courts, the Financial Directorate (Finanzlandesdirektion)
, the Collection Agencies (Sammelstellen)
A and B and the Compensation Fund. The Findbuch
provides well explained overviews of the types of files available, the range of content that can be expected, the origins of the files, the legal background to the various Nazi measures which led to the documentation, etc.
For a list of participating archives, file types (aryanisation, seized property, restitution, Collection Agencies (Sammelstellen A & B), etc), click here
currently offers 129,017 records
and is continually being expanded. As such, it is one of the most comprehensive collections of information on property seizures during the National Socialist era and restitution and post-war compensation measures on the territory of the Republic of Austria.
Online Resources and Case News
Country-specific information is available on this site for 48 countries, from Albania to Yugoslavia, in the Information by Country
section. Details of important, non country-specific, online resources are available in the International
section of the site which contains several categories of information. For example: Case News
: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or settled outside the courts with copies of reports and rulings. Full details of a comprehensive range of cases can be found in the News Archive
, which is fully searchable by name of family, artwork, museum, city, etc.
: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or being settled in court with copies of court filings and judgements.Research Resources
: provides details of family records, tracing services, art historical resources, texts of post-war reports, and books and publications.Web Resources
: provides details of various online databases of looted paintings, results of provenance research in countries around the world, archival records available online and other research materials.
Seeking Owners of Identified Looted Property
: provides lists of names of individuals whose looted property has been identified in institutions in Germany and whose heirs are being sought.
Other categories of information include
Governmental Conferences and Hearings, Laws, Policies and Guidelines, Art Trade, and Press, Television, Radio and Film. To explore all these sections, click here
The site is regularly updated with new resources and developments. To provide details of resources or cases to add to the site, please email email@example.com