Books and Publications


Handreichung: Guidelines concerning the implementation of the Joint Declaration


Germany Federal Ministry of Culture and Media


November 2019


2019: A new revised edition of the German Handreichung (Guidelines) has been published by the German Federal Ministry of Culture and Media. To read the German language version, click here. For the English language version click here.

The Handreichung (Guidelines) were published by the German Federal Government, the Länder (Federal States) and the National Associations of Local Authorities for the implementation of the Washington Principles and the Common Statement. These offer legally non-binding guidance for independent provenance research on Nazi-looted cultural assets in public as well as private museums, collections, libraries and archive. The publication is aimed at those who deal with the handling of cultural assets, and practitioners of provenance research. Those with a general interest in the field of cultural assets seized by the National Socialists will find an overview of the subject and further information.

The previous version was issued on 10 May 2013 and was published online by the Germany Federal Ministry of Culture and Media.  To read or download the English version, click here

The Handreichung is directed towards German cultural institutions and contains guidelines for the Implementation of the 1998 Washington Principles and the 1999 Joint Declaration by the Federal Government, the Länder (Federal States) and the National Associations of Local Authorities.  An associated press release, published on 10 May 2013, is available here

The Handreichung is intended to assist institutions in identifying Nazi-confiscated cultural property in their collections and to provide guidance on dealing with claims.  It provides instructions on how to identify objects that may have been looted or confiscated and lists institutions and individuals involved in art looting and forced sales at the time of the Nazi regime, both in Germany and abroad.

The numerous appendices also include extensive information on relevant municipal, federal and state archival resources in Germany, as well as guidance on how to deal with restitution claims, providing a sample return agreement.  The first Handreichung was published in February 2001. A second version was published on 19 May 2008. 

A printed version of the Handreichung can also be ordered at

Full information about the Handreichung, its history and contents can be found on this site here.


Germany Federal Ministry of Culture and Media

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