Research Findings with Respect to Holocaust-Era Art in German and Czech Public Collections
The art Loss Register, a private company established in 1990 by the art and insurance industries, maintains the world’s largest database of stolen and looted works of art. The objectives of the Art Loss Register are to identify and recover stolen art, deter theft and reduce the trade in stolen art as well as to mould the practices of all those engaged in the buying, selling and exhibiting of art objects to ensure that establishing provenance and providing assurance of good title becomes a routine research proceedure. Over the ten years since the establishment of the Register, $100 million’s worth of stolen or missing art was identified through the systematic screening of artworks on offer on the international art market (via auction houses or by individual art dealers) by trained art historians operating out of London, New York and Cologne. 1998 saw the foundation of a special pro bono project to identify the location of works of art looted or subjected to forced sales between 1933 and 1945 with particular, though not exclusive, emphasis on Holocaust era losses. Specialist art historians are engaged full time in assisting Holocaust survivors and heirs worldwide to trace the thousands of looted or forcibly sold objects that have been registered on the claims database. All art claims are registered at no cost to the claimant and research and recovery fees are waived. To comply with the calls for co-operation that were made at the December 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets, unique information bridges have been built with the Commission for Art Recovery of the World Jewish Congress and the Holocaust Claims Processing Office, both engaged in claimant orientated research, to ensure that information on art losses is disseminated as widely as possible.
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