If you care about the issue of artworks looted by the Nazis being concealed by the Austrians and the Swiss - and never returned to the heirs of their murdered Jewish owners, then you will find the video of interest.
According to 2006 Congressional testimony of AAMD President James Cuno, U.S. museums contain tens of thousands of artworks that were potentially looted by the Nazis that U.S. museums have failed to research. Since many families were wiped out entirely, there are no heirs to claim stolen Jewish assets in U.S. museums.
According to a recent statement by Amb. Stuart Eizenstat, 1% of Holocaust survivors die each month. 36% of them live at or below the poverty line.
U.S. museums promised to make all of their records relating to Holocaust-era assets public in 1999 and to put this information online to aid the Diaspora in tracing their heritage. This was at the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets.
Unfortunately, U.S. museums have failed to follow up on their promises. Each item in a museum, like, for example, the Museum of Modern Art, has a "confidential object file" The "confidential object file" is concealed from historians as a matter of routine. New York City taxpayers subsidize this concealment by giving tax breaks and grants to institutions like the MoMA.
If you visit the MoMA's website, you can click "Explore" and "Collection" and find "Provenance Research Project". In there, you will find 719 objects fitting the criteria of having entered the U.S. after 1932 but created before 1946. Numerous of these objects were stolen by the Nazis and never returned to their true owners.
Although there was a movement during the Clinton Administration to push U.S. museums to reveal information relating to European artworks entering the U.S. after 1933 but created before 1945, but this initiative was dropped like a hot potato once the Bush/Cheney administration came to power.
Unfortunately, Edgar Bronfman, who was a real leader in this area was replaced by art collector Ronald Lauder who has resisted disclosure of his art dealings.
Visiting the Jewish Museum in Berlin was an incredible experience. The building was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind in a manner designed to disturb and disrupt your expectations.
|Washington Conference Principles|
On Nazi-Confiscated Art
Released in connection with the Washington
Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets,
Washington, DC, December 3, 1998
In developing a consensus on non-binding principles to assist in resolving issues relating to Nazi-confiscated art, the Conference recognizes that among participating nations there are differing legal systems and that countries act within the context of their own laws.
I. Art that had been confiscated by the Nazis and not subsequently restituted should be identified.
II. Relevant records and archives should be open and accessible to researchers, in accordance with the guidelines of the International Council on Archives.
III. Resources and personnel should be made available to facilitate the identification of all art that had been confiscated by the Nazis and not subsequently restituted.
IV. In establishing that a work of art had been confiscated by the Nazis and not subsequently restituted, consideration should be given to unavoidable gaps or ambiguities in the provenance in light of the passage of time and the circumstances of the Holocaust era.
V. Every effort should be made to publicize art that is found to have been confiscated by the Nazis and not subsequently restituted in order to locate its pre-War owners or their heirs.
VI. Efforts should be made to establish a central registry of such information.
VII. Pre-War owners and their heirs should be encouraged to come forward and make known their claims to art that was confiscated by the Nazis and not subsequently restituted.
VIII. If the pre-War owners of art that is found to have been confiscated by the Nazis and not subsequently restituted, or their heirs, can be identified, steps should be taken expeditiously to achieve a just and fair solution, recognizing this may vary according to the facts and circumstances surrounding a specific case.
IX. If the pre-War owners of art that is found to have been confiscated by the Nazis, or their heirs, can not be identified, steps should be taken expeditiously to achieve a just and fair solution.
X. Commissions or other bodies established to identify art that was confiscated by the Nazis and to assist in addressing ownership issues should have a balanced membership.
XI. Nations are encouraged to develop national processes to implement these principles, particularly as they relate to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for resolving ownership issues.