The Study Mission on the Spoliation of Jews in France (Mission d'étude sur la spoliation des Juifs de France) Mattéoli Commission
1997 - 2000
The Study Mission was set up on 25 March 1997 with M Jean Mattéoli as Chairman. Its tasks were to research confiscated cultural objects, determine their whereabouts, to draw up an inventory, and finally to make proposals to the French government about the disposal of these assets. The Commission estimated that over 100,000 works of art were pillaged by the Germans as well as several million books. Of the 100,000 objects, 61,233 were returned to France, of which 45,441 were returned to their owners. 2,000 works were entrusted to national French museums which inventoried them in Recovery collections (MNRs for paintings, OARs for art objects). 13,500 objects were sold for an amount of FFR 100M (estimated in 1954).
No active research was carried out after 1954 to identify the legitimate owners. Since 1994 a further thirty works have been returned. Since 1998 research has been carried out in French, German and American archives. The Commission did not research the Alsace and Moselle regions, which were annexed to the Third Reich during the war and suffered considerable spoliation.
Because the modern location of some 40,000 plundered art objects remains unknown (some are thought to be in public or private collections), the Commission recommended international co-operation to facilitate restitution in years to come.
A detailed summary of the Final Report is available on this website under France: Official Reports.
Mission d'étude sur la spoliation des Juifs de France. Rapport General. Paris:
La Documentation Française, April 2000.
Mission d'étude sur la spoliation des Juifs de France. Rapport Général. Paris: La Documentation Française, April 2000. <http://www.ladocfrancaise.gouv.fr> accessed 9 July 2002.
The Final Report can be viewed in PDF format on the website, <http://www.ladocfrancaise.gouv.fr>, accessed 26 November 2002
A summary of the work by the Commission can be accessed in PDF format at, <http://www.info-france-usa.org/news/statmnts/1998/wchea/matteoli.pdf>