In the early 1950s the Bezalel Art Institute in Jerusalem received many hundreds of looted works of art and objects of Judaica from the Jewish Restitution Successor Organisation (JRSO) in Europe. JRSO was an umbrella organisation consisting of American, European and Mandate Palestine Jewish associations designated as the custodian of unclaimed Nazi-looted properties at the 1946 Paris Peace Conference. The objects sent to Israel had been found at the end of the war and their provenance was unknown.
Some were distributed to bodies such as the Ein Harod Museum. Mordechai Narkiss, Director of the Bezalel, gave a few thousand items of Judaica to the Director General of the Religious Affairs Ministry, who distributed them among synagogues and museums, including Martef Hashoah (The Chamber of the Holocaust) on Mount Zion and the Museum at the Seat of the Chief Rabbinate.
Objects kept at the Bezalel were transferred to the Israel Museum Jerusalem when it was created in 1965. They number some 1,300 items, of which c 550 are paintings, drawings and prints, and the rest are Judaica. All have now been entered into an online database which contains a brief description of the object, its source and a photograph. Any potential claimant is able to see the objects and make further enquiries with the Museum.
The Israel Museum Jerusalem
Central Registry, 30 August 2007.