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.
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.
Revised and Updated Handreichung published in Germany10 May 2013
: German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann has announced the publication of a revised and updated Handreichung
, the guide to the implementation of the 1999 Joint Declaration by the Federal Government, the Länder (Federal States) and the National Associations of Local Authorities
.: "On the 80th anniversary of the Nazi book burnings, we want to make it clear that the work on Nazi art theft in the future is a lasting commitment." He added: "The search for Nazi-confiscated art and the formulation of fair and equitable solutions in restitution issues are a major concern of the Federal government. Thanks to the new initiative in provenance research which I initiated in 2008, with two million euros annually available, knowledge about the background and mechanisms of seizure as well as the perpetrators and their victims has grown. This knowledge, will now be made more widely available through the new Handreichung."
First published in 2001, the Handreichung was written to assist institutions in identifying Nazi-confiscated cultural property in their collections and to provide guidance on dealing with claims. It lists institutions and individuals involved in art looting and forced sales at the time of the Nazi regime, both in Germany and abroad, provides details of identifying marks such as stamps and labels, lists of firms used to transport seized art, information on relevant municipal, federal and state archives in Germany and other valuable resources. To access the Handreichung, click here.
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.
10,000 New Digitised Volumes Now Available through the Getty Research Portal
Four thousand new records, which represent approximately 10,000 new volumes, were recently added to the Getty Research Portal™, the GRI's online search gateway for digitized art history texts in the public domain. This represents a nearly 50% increase in size from the Portal's launch nearly ten months ago. Contributions came from the GRI, the Heidelberg University Library, the Institut national d'histoire de l'art, and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, among others. To access the search page, click here
. To find out more about the Portal, click here.
US Court of Appeals Rules Herzog Case Against Hungary Can Proceed in US19 April 2013
: The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington issued an opinion on Friday upholding Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle’s decision to allow a lawsuit filed against Hungary, three of its state- owned museums, and one state-owned university for artworks looted from the Herzog family during the Holocaust, to proceed. The decision also reversed the lower court’s premature dismissal of 11 artworks on grounds of legal reciprocity. To read the opinion, click here
ZADIK digitises the records of Galerie Thannhauser and ten other dealers
ZADIK (the Zentralarchiv des internationalen Kunsthandels) has digitised the records of the following dealers covering the noted dates. These are all now searchable online; Galerie Der Spiegel of Köln 1945-1993; Galerie Zwirner Essen and Köln, from1953
; Moderne Galerie Otto Stangl of München 1949-1991; Galerie Inge Baecker of Bpchum and Köln, from 1970; Galerie Parnass of Wuppertal-Elberfeld 1949-1965; Edition & Galerie Hundertmark of Berlin, Köln, Frankfurt and Gran Canaria, from 1970;Galerie Michael Hertz of Bremen 1931-1981; Galerie Erhard Klein of Bonn and Bad Münstereifel-Mutscheid, from 1970;Galerie Rudolf Springer of Berlin from 1948; Galerie Heiner Friedrich of München and Köln from 1963; Galerie Aachen of Aachen 1965-1967; Galerie Heinz Teufel of Koblenz, Köln, Mahlberg and Dresden 1966-1996;Galerien Thannhauser of München, Luzern, Berlin, Paris, (New York) 1919-1971; Galerie Dorothea Loehr of Frankfurt 1959-1993; Kritikerin Anna Klapheck of Düsseldorf 1929-1986; Kritiker Albert Schulze of Vellinghausen 1905-1967; and Mary Bauermeister from 1951 (in process). For further information, access the online records here. Click here to visit the Zadik homepage.
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
Publishing German Sales, A Look under the Hood of the Getty Provenance Index
17 April 2013: Written by Ruth Cuadra and Suzanne Michels of the Getty, an explanation of how over 1/4 million records in the German Sales Catalogs from German, Austrian and Swiss auction houses, were incorporated into the Getty Provenance Index and made searchable. A valuable guide for any user. To read the explanation, click here
Colloquium 'Selbstbehauptung, Anpassung, Gleichschaltung, Verstrickung - Die Preußische Staatsbibliothek und das deutsche Bibliothekswesen 1933-1945
The papers given at the Colloquium (in English 'Self-assertion, Adaptation, Conformity, Entanglement - The Prussian State Library and the German Library System 1933-1945') at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin on 30 January 2013 were all recorded and are now available online. To listen to the papers and read the abstracts, 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
Should Nazi-Looted Art Works Be Returned? The View From the US State Department 25 March 2013
On 25 March 2013 Douglas Davidson, US Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues gave a presentation in which he reiterated the US government's commitment to restitution of Nazi-looted works of art and called upon museums to engage "voluntarily in mediation or some other manner of resolving disputes over ownership of Nazi-looted art that avoids the need to do so in a court of law". In so doing, he re-stated the US government's preference for dialogue and negotiation over litigation which is so frequently deployed in the US today. To read the presentation, 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
University of Leipzig returns 16 volumes owned by Fernand Raoul Jellinek-Mercedes to his heirs.18 March 2013: Fernand Raoul Jellinek-Mercedes (1883-1939) lived as a writer in Baden near Vienna. He had a music collection, a collection of paintings and a large library. After the German Anschluss with Austria In 1938, he was persecuted because he was of Jewish descent and forced to sell his property, including his library. On 10 February 1939 Jellinek-Mercedes committed suicide in Baden. Sixteen of his books were identified in the Leipzig University Library in the course of provenance research conducted since 2009. They had been there since 1956 when they were transferred from the Leipzig State Library. On 18 March they were restored to his heirs Dr. Ludwig Steiner, Gabriele Wagner and Thomas Steiner. The books include a small Gottsched edition of 1749, a complete edition of the French enlightenment writer Pierre Marivaux, two volumes by Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) and a volume of Heinrich Heine. For further information about the restitution, contact
Cordula Reuß, in charge of the research project at reuss@ub.-uni-leipzig.de
Nazi Looted Books in the Berlin Academy Library - NS-Raubgut in der Berliner AkademiebibliothekMarch 2013: A report on the provenance research project into Nazi looted books in the
Library of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities has been published. Written by Sandra Butte and Stefan Wiederkehr, it has the title
"... as there are no funds in order to buy books“, and shows how the Academy Library availed itself of the opportunity to acquire 'free' books to expand its stocks in the Nazi period. It also acquired large numbers of looted books in the early post-war period through dealers and others. For full details and to read the report, click here