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14 January 2016: Final report of the Gurlitt Task Force

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The final report of the Gurlitt Task Force, which began work in November 2013, has been published. 72 pages long, it is only in German, thereby continuing the Task Force's inward-looking record and failure to ensure communication to those most personally interested in its detailed findings - the families who were looted and who generally do not read German.

The Task Force's little known website - all enquiries have always been referred to the lostart.de website which made no reference to it - provides a short English language 'Fact Sheet'. This summarises the research by numbers and in an unclear way. Our attempt to clarify the findings suggests:

Of the 1,258 artworks found in Munich, 507 could be ruled out as looted because they came from German museums or the Gurlitt family; 499 were identified as possibly looted, of which 4 were definitively looted, 27 are very likely to be looted, and 344 are still unclear after some research; 252 still need to have research undertaken. Of the 186 artworks found in Salzburg, 1 is definitively looted, 45 are very likely to be looted, 1 is not, and 139 are still uncertain.

The Fact Sheet also summarises the claims made and how they were dealt with. Of the 118 claims made, 62 (53%) were 'resolved'. However, 15 of the 62 stated to be 'resolved' are also stated not to be as they are 'subject to a review procedure'. 1 artwork is stated to be looted but the family 'had not lodged a claim'. Has the Task Force contacted the family? The Fact Sheet does not say. The Fact Sheeet also does not say how many of the 5 works which are definitively looted have been returned. 56 (47%) of the 118 claims made are not resolved because the research is not completed.

The record set out in the Fact Sheet, the result of two years' work, underscores the Task Force's lack of urgency and achievement in only certainly identifying five looted works of art and not even returning all of them.

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