Langdell Hall, South Classroom, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Friday February 8, 2008
1:00 p.m. - Welcome
- The Evolution of Cultural Property Protection in International Law
- Restitution of Cultural Property at the End of WWII
- Stalin's Decrees and Soviet Trophy Brigades
- Legality of Soviet Displacement of Cultural Valuables under International Law
5:30 p.m. - Reception
Saturday February 9, 2008
8:30 a.m. - Continental breakfast
- The Post-1991 Political Search to Legalize 'Compensation': the Long Battle over the Russian Law on Displaced Cultural Valuables
- The Legality and Constitutionality of the Russian Federal Law on Cultural Valuables Displaced to the USSR as the Result of the Second World War and Located on the Territory of the Russian Federation
- The Constitutionality of the Russian Federal Law on Cultural Valuables
- Status of the Russian Law under International Law
- Russian-German Negotiations over Displaced Cultural Valuables
- The Legal Situation with regard to German “Trophy Art” in Russia – a German Perspective'
- Non-Restitution under the Law: the Baldin-Bremen Case
- Archives: the Forgotten Restitution Achievements under the Law
- Trophy Art, Art Loans and Immunity From Seizure in both the US and UK
5:00 p.m. - Conclusions
- Appropriate breaks with refreshments will be provided -
- Konstantin Akinsha, independent scholar & contributing editor to ARTnews magazine, co-author of Beautiful Loot: The Soviet Plunder of Europe's Art Treasures (1995)
- Michael Bazyler, Professor of Law & "1939" Club Law Scholar in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies, Whittier Law School, author of Holocaust Justice: The Battle for Restitution in America’s Courts (2003)
- Wolfgang Eichwede, Professor and Director of the Research Centre for East European Studies, University of Bremen
- Andrea Gattini, Professor of International Law, University of Padua, author of Restitution by Russia of Works of Art Removed from German Territory at the End of the Second World War, 7 Eur. J. Int'l L. 1-88 (1996) - invited
- Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, Associate of the Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, author of Trophies of War and Empire: The Archival Heritage of Ukraine, World War II, and the International Politics of Restitution (2001), co-editor of Returned from Russia: Nazi Archival Plunder in Western Europe and Recent Restitution Issues (2007)
- Tobias Irmscher, legal counsel, European Patent Office, Munich; formerly research assistant to the late Prof. Dr. Dieter Blumenwitz, at the Institute of European and International Law, University of Würzburg; author of The Protection of Cultural Property in Public International Law – the case of German “Trophy Art” in Russia (in German, with English summary), in: Im Labyrinth des Rechts? – Wege zum Kulturgüterschutz , Magdeburg 15-44 (2007) - invited
- Lawrence M.Kaye, Herrick Feinstein LLP, dean of American art lawyers and author of Art Wars: The Repatriation Battle, 31 N. Y. U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 79-94 (1998)
- Michael J. Kurtz, Assistant Archivist for the Office of Records Services, National Archives and Records Administration, author of America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe's Cultural Treasures (2006)
- Nathan Lewin, Lewin & Lewin LLP, attorney for plaintiffs in Agudas Chasidei Chabad v. Russian Fed'n , 466 F. Supp. 2d 6, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87148 (D.D.C. 2006) - invited
- Peter B. Maggs, Clifford M. and Bette A. Carney Professor of Law, University of Illinois & author, with Aleksei Nikolaevich Zhiltsov, of The Civil Code of the Russian Federation (1997)
- Harry S. Martin, Henry N. Ess Librarian & Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
- Wayne Sandholtz, Professor of Political Science, University of California at Irving, author of Prohibiting Plunder: How Norms Change (2007)
- Jost von Trott zu Solz, von Trott zu Solz Lammek Rechtsanwälte, Berlin - invited
- Detlev F. Vagts, Bemis Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School, co-author of Transnational Business Problems (2003)
- Olga Yudina, founder member of the International Foundation of Cultural Diplomacy, doctoral thesis in progress on the topic of the Problem of International Legal Regulation of Displaced Cultural Property, St. Petersburg State University, former leading adviser of the Hermitage museum, St. Petersburg
The conference was co-sponsored by Harvard Law School Arts & Literature Law Society, Commission for Art Recovery, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, Foundation for International Cultural Diplomacy and Harvard Law School European Law Research Center.
World War II resulted in the greatest loss and displacement of cultural treasures, books, and archives in history. As the German army occupied more and more of the European continent, Nazi art brigades swept up millions of items from museums, libraries, archives, and individuals. Allied bombing in Europe destroyed many of these treasures. The Germans began to place the remainder in remote castles, mines, and monasteries for safe-keeping, but the occupation of Axis Europe led to damage and destruction of more cultural valuables. Eventually these German treasure troves came under the control of the victors.
In the immediate aftermath of the war, with no agreement over restitution among the Allied victors, each of the four occupying powers in Germany and Austria— the United States, Great Britain, France, and the USSR— handled displaced cultural property that ended the war in their individual zones as they saw fit. The United States undertook an unprecedented program of cultural restitution in an effort to restore displaced treasures to the countries from which the Nazis had confiscated them, in the expectation that these countries would return these valuables to their pre-war owners. This process continues to this day.
In the East, however, Soviet authorities, seeking reparations for the extensive costs of Nazi aggression, used special "Trophy Brigades" to empty museums, castles, and salt mines in Germany and Eastern Europe, transporting millions of cultural treasures to the USSR. These included German state-owned cultural objects, cultural objects taken from churches and synagogues, as well as a great deal of private property that had been looted by the Germans from individuals. In addition, U.S. authorities in Germany returned more than half a million displaced cultural treasures and more than a quarter of a million books to the USSR that had been looted by the Nazi invaders.
Without doubt, the Soviet Union suffered huge losses in lives and property from Nazi aggression. Soviet desire for reparations was quite understandable. Whether cultural goods should have been part of such reparations is a complex question, as international law regarding cultural property has been evolving since the mid-Nineteenth Century.
The art works taken back to the Soviet Union were held in relative secrecy for years. Not until the final years of glasnost in 1989-1990 did information gradually surface about the secret depositories for "trophy art" (as known in Russia), the millions of trophy books in an abandoned church outside of Moscow, and the kilometers of state and private archives from countries across Europe that had been held for half a century in the top secret "Special Archive."
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the subject of restitution has been one of the most thorny issues in Russia's foreign relations. As European countries started to demand their cultural treasures and archives, Russian legislators prohibited restitution.
In the midst of the four-year struggle over passage of the law, Russia was admitted to the Council of Europe in January 1996. In order to secure acceptance, among the commitments Russia was required to make were two specific "intents" for restitution of archives and other cultural treasures belonging to member states. Since that document was signed, Russia's parliamentary bodies have ignored those intents, a disregard that culminated with the almost unanimous passage of a law that potentially nationalizes all cultural treasures brought to Russia at the end of World War II. President Yeltsin initially refused to sign this law. After a decision of the Constitutional Court obliged him to do so, he signed it but then lodged a request challenging the law's constitutionality. In 1999 the Constitutional Court issued another opinion basically upholding the law.
The Russian law seemingly conflicts with countless international conventions and resolutions adopted by the United Nations, UNESCO, and other bodies, as well as several bilateral agreements, calling for the restitution of plundered cultural treasures to their countries of origin. After President Putin signed the amended law in July 2000, a Government order put the Ministry of Culture in charge of restitution proceedings. A further Government order in March 2001 established a new Interagency Council charged with publicly describing the displaced cultural treasures.
Many different and complex situations are involved in the various claims for return of these treasures, many of which still remain unidentified. This workshop will explore the legal and ethical issues involved and begin to lay the groundwork for a practical exploration of steps to help overcome the persisting Cold War attitudes surrounding displaced cultural treasures and restitution issues.
- Russian Law on Cultural Valuables, from the Spoils of War International Newsletter, No. 4,1997 [another version: Federal Law on Cultural Valuables Displaced to the U.S.S.R. as a Result of World War II and Located on the Territory of the Russian Federation (Federal Law N 64-FZ of April 15, 1998) [subsequently amended] from the Documentation Project]
- Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation
- Decision No. 11-P of April 6, 1998 In Re the Resolution of the Dispute Between the Federation Council and the President of the Russian Federation, and Between the State Duma and the President of the Russian Federation on the Obligation of the President of the Russian Federation to Sign the Adopted Federal Law "On Cultural Valuables Transported to the USSR as a Result of the Second World War and Located in the Territory of the Russian Federation" [in Russian]
- Decision No. 12-P of July 20, 1999 In Re the Constitutionality of the Federal Law of April 15, 1998 "On Cultural Valuables Transported to the USSR as a Result of World War II and Located in the Territory of the Russian Federation" [in Russian]
- Agudas Chasidei Chabad v. Russian Fed'n, 466 F. Supp. 2d 6, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87148 (D.D.C. 2006)
- Konstantin Akinsha & Grigorii Kozlov, with Sylvia Hochfield, Beautiful Loot: the Soviet Plunder of Europe's Art Treasures (1995)
- Konstantin Akinsha and Grigorii Kozlov, The Discovery of Secret Repositories, in Elizabeth Simpson, The Spoils of War -World War II and Its Aftermath: The Loss, Reappearance and Recovery of Cultural Property 162-165 (1997)
- Pierre d’Argent, The Russian Law on Removed Cultural Property: Some International Law Remarks, Spoils of War Newsletter No. 4 (1997)
- Alexander Blankenagel, Eyes Wide Shut: Displaced Cultural Objects in Russian Law and Adjudication, 8 East Eur. Const. Rev. No. 4 (Fall 1999)
- Roland Bleiker, The Politics and Ethics of Relocated Art, 53 Australian J. Int'l Affairs 311-326 (1999)
- Symposium: The ILC’s State Responsibility Articles, Daniel Bodansky and John R. Crook (eds.) 96 Am. J. Int’l L. (No.4, Oct. 2002)
- Richard Buxbaum, A Legal History of International Reparations, Issues in Legal Scholarship, Article 5 (2006)
- Peter Bruhn: Beutekunst - Bibliographie des internationalen Schrifttums über das Schicksal des im Zweiten Weltkrieg von der Roten Armee in Deutschland erbeuteten Kulturgutes (Museums-, Archiv- und Bibliotheksbestände) 2 vols. 1990-2002 (4th ed. München 2003)
- Chorzów Factory, Judgment No. 13 (Germany v. Poland) 1928 PCIJ (Ser. A. No. 17)
- James Crawford, The ILC's Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts: A Retrospect, 96 Am. J.Int'l L. 875 (2002)
- The Diversion of Water from the Meuse, (Netherlands vs. Belgium) 1937 PCIJ (ser. A No. 70)
- Wilfried Fiedler, Legal Issues Bearing on the Restitution of German Cultural Property in Russia, in Simpson, Elizabeth (ed.): The Spoils of War. World War II and Its Aftermath: The Loss, Reappearance, and Recovery of Cultural Property, Harry N. Abrams: New York, 1997, pp. 175-180.
- Jamey Gambrell, Displaced art - art seized from Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union after World War II, 83 Art in America (No. 9), September 1995
- Andrea Gattini, Restitution by Russia of Works of Art Removed from German Territory at the End of the Second World War, 7 Eur. J. Int'l L. 1-88 (1996)
- Ekaterina Genieva, The Fate of Displaced Cultural Valuables in Russia: Different Approaches to One Problem, 50 Libri 217-220 (2000)
- Paul Gewirtz, Remedies and Resistance, 92 Yale L.J. 585 (1983)
- Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, Archives of Russia Seven Years After: “Purveyors of Sensation” or “Shadows cast to the Past”?, Woodrow Wolson Center Working Paper No. 20 (1998)
- Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, Displaced Cultural Treasures as a Result of World War II and Restitution Issues: a bibliography of publications
- Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, Russia's Trophy Archives: Still Prisoners of World War II? Budapest: Open Society Archives, Central European University. Electronic publication February 2002
- Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, Russian Trophy Archives - An Update on Restitution Issues, Presented at a seminar at the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam), 24 September 2001
- Grimsted Patricia Kennedy, Trophies of War and Empire: The Archival Heritage of Ukraine, World War II, and the International Politics of Restitution (2001)
- Frederic L. Kirgis, Restitution as a Remedy in U.S. Courts for Violations of International Law, 95 Am. J. Int'l L. 341-348 (2001)
- International Law Commission, Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (2001)
- The International Protection of Artistic and Historic Property, A Statement released by the Department of State, July 27, 1951. 11 College Art Journal 33-35 (Autumn, 1951)
- Frederic L. Kirgis, Restitution as a Remedy in U.S. Courts for Violations of International Law, 95 Am. J. Int'l L. 341 (2001)
- Wojciech A. Kowalski, Art Treasures and War (1998)
- Wojciech A. Kowalski, Introduction to the International Law on the Restituion of Works of Art Looted During Armed Conflicts, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV Spoils of War Newsletter (various numbers: 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Tarja Långström, Transformation in Russia and International Law pp. 126-133 (2003)
- Tarja Långström, War Trophies' from World War II in Russia: Robbery or Restitution?, 9 Finnish Yearbook Int'l L. 249-96 (1998)
- Returned from Russia: Nazi Archival Plunder in Western Europe and Recent Restitution Issues, Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, F.J. Hoogewoud, and Eric Ketelaar (eds.), Institute of Art and Law, 2007. flyer
- Owen C. Pell, Resolution of Cultural Property Disputes , 7th PCA International Law Seminar, May 23, 2003, Permanent Court of Arbitration
- Wayne Sandholtz, Prohibiting Plunder: How Norms Change (2007)
- Jeremy Sarkin, Reparation for Past Wrongs: Using Domestic Courts around the World, especially the United States, to Pursue African Human Rights Claims , 32 Int'l J. Legal Info. 426 (2004)
- Dinah Shelton, Righting Wrongs:Reparations in the Articles on State Responsibility, 96 Am. J. Int'l L. 833 (2002) JSTOR link
- Elizabeth Simpson, The Spoils of War -World War II and Its Aftermath: The Loss, Reappearance and Recovery of Cultural Property (1997)
- Howard N. Spiegler, Litigation against a Foreign Sovereign in the United States to Recover Artworks on Temporary Loan: The Malewicz Case, Juriste International, January 2007
- Spoils of War Newsletter, No. 4 (1997) Issue devoted to Russian Law on Cultural Valuables [German mirror site]
- Stephan Wilske, International Law and the Spoils of War: To the Victor the Right of Spoils?: The Claims for Repatriation of Art Removed from Germany by the Soviet Army During or as a Result of World War II, 3 UCLA J. Int' L.& For. Affairs 223 (1998)
- Olga Yudina-Mazure, Russia and Secure Mobility of Art, 2006
For further details, please click here.