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Raub und Restitution - Looting and Restitution: Jewish-Owned Cultural Artifacts from 1933 to the Present; Exhibition 22 April - 2 August 2009, Jewish Museum Frankfurt

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This exhibition, a cooperation between the Jewish Museums of Berlin and Frankfurt, was about the fate of individual cultural artifacts confiscated by the Nazis and their Jewish owners.  It originally ran from 19 September 2008 - 25 January 2009 at the Jewish Museum Berlin.

The descriptive text from the Frankfurt Jewish Museum reads:

"Sixty years after the end of the war, looting and restitution of Jewish cultural artifacts is still a topic of burning interest. Numerous open questions and unsolved cases remain and opinions are controversial. The exhibition "Looting and Restitution: Jewish-Owned Cultural Artifacts from 1933 to the Present" narrates the historical events, context, and consequences of the looting carried out by the Nazis throughout Europe. The exhibition tracks what happened to individual cultural artifacts confiscated by the Nazis - from paintings and libraries through porcelain to silverware and private photos - and the fates of their rightful Jewish owners. Alongside well-known names such as the Rothschild family or the art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, lesser known collections such as Sigmund Nauheim's Judaica collection and the pianist Wanda Landowska's collection of historical musical instruments will also be shown. 

Photo: four GIs carrying paintings
American GIs, supervised by MFA&A officer James
Rorimer, carrying paintings from the depot for looted
cultural artifacts at Neuschwanstein Castle, May 1945
© National Archives, Washington

The exhibition also looks at those who profited from and played an active role in the looting. It highlights Nazi organizations such as "Sonderauftrag Linz" and "Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg" and the disreputable role played by museums, libraries, and art dealers. Not least, the exhibition looks at the endeavors but also the shortfalls and inadequacies of the politics of restitution following the war, and the claims that were not settled at the time which shape the current debate."

For further information, visit the Museum's website. A book accompanying the exhibition includes essays and further case studies.  Details of the book can be found here. 

Location of exhibition:
Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt am Main
Untermainkai 14/15
60311 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: 069-212-35000
Fax: 069-212-30705
E: info@juedischesmuseum.de
www.juedischesmuseum.de


To mark the closing of the exhibition in Berlin, a conference on 'Jewish Cultural Treasures in Europe after the Holocaust: Restitution and Relocation', was held on 24-25 January 2009.  The details are set out below.   

The website of the Jewish Museum Berlin still has a special section dedicated to the exhibition.  It includes case studies of the Landowska and Schnitzler families, an interactive game about restitution of looted art and details of the supporting programme of films on the subject.  For further information, visit the Jewish Museum Berlin's website.

Painting by Otto Mueller, boy with two standing girls and one sitting girl, 1918/19
Otto Mueller, boy with two standing girls and one sitting girl, 1918/19.
© Kunsthalle Emden - Henri and Eske Nannen Foundation, donated by Otto van de Loo

CONFERENCE:   'Jewish Cultural Treasures in Europe after the Holocaust: Restitution and Relocation' 24-25 January 2009.

To mark the end of the exhibition, a conference in English on 'Jewish Cultural Treasures in Europe after the Holocaust: Restitution and Relocation' examined the legal framework for the restitution of Jewish cultural artifacts and the practical repercussions of the laws in different European countries.  The programme is available here as a pdf and also set out below:
 


PANEL I:  
CONFRONTING LOOTING AND DESTRUCTION: NEW STRATEGIES


10:00
Introduction

Inka Bertz, Jewish Museum Berlin


10:30
Reconstructing Jewish Cultural Landscapes –

The »Tentative Lists« Project 1944–1948

Elisabeth Gallas, Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and

Culture at Leipzig University


11:15
Hashavat Avedah: JCR, Inc. and the Rescue of Heirless Jewish Cultural Property After WW II

Dana Herman, Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati


12:00
Lunch Break


PANEL II:
GERMANY AND AUSTRIA


13:30
To Whom do the Jewish Cultural Treasures belong after 1945?

Conflict of Interests in the City of Frankfurt am Main

Katharina Rauschenberger, Jewish Museum Frankfurt am Main


14:15
The situation in Berlin 1945–1953

N.N.


15:00
Displaced on Three Continents.

The Fate of the Material Heritage of the Jewish Community in Vienna

Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek, Jewish Museum Vienna


15:45
Coffee Break


PANEL III:
EAST CENTRAL EUROPE I


16:15
What Happened in Prague?

Michaela Sidenberg, Jewish Museum in Prague


17:00
Dealing with the Jewish Cultural Assets in Post-War Poland

Nawojka Cieslinska-Lobkowicz, Art Historian and Provenance Researcher, Warsaw/Munich


17:45
The Jewish Historical Institute as a Repository for Jewish Cultural Treasures in Poland

N. N.


SUNDAY, 25th of JANUARY 2009

PANEL IV: WESTERN EUROPE


10:00
A Matter of Conscience? Legal and Moral Aspects of Dutch Restitution Policy

Julie Marthe Cohen, Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam


10:45
The Fate of Jewish-Owned Cultural Treasures in Paris and in France

Laurence Sigal, Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme, Paris


11:30
Looted Jewish Art and Cultural Properties in Italy.

The Difficult Restitution and Compensation after 1945

Paola Bertilotti, Sciences-Po, Paris / Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Lyon


12:15
Lunch Break


PANEL V:
EAST CENTRAL EUROPE II


13:45
Lviv 1944 – Now. Jewish Cultural Objects and Property. Some Cases and Tendencies

Tarik Cyril Amar, Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, Lviv


14:30
Restitution Issues in Post-War Romania

Hildrun Glass, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


15:15 "
Disappeared?" The Fate of Jewish-Owned Cultural Artifacts in Hungary after 1945

Eszter Gantner, ELTE University of Budapest – Center for Central European German Jewish Culture


16:00  Final discussion: Open Questions, Ongoing Controversies


 

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