The German Advisory Commission on Nazi Looted-Art Urges Restitution Law

Tuesday, September 5, 2023
The German Advisory Commission on Nazi Looted-Art Urges Restitution Law

The Advisory Commission on Nazi Looted Art, formed 20 years ago in Germany, has released a memorandum calling for the enactment of a restitution law and greater responsibility from the government.

The commission, composed of ten public figures led by former Federal Constitutional Court President Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Papier, was established in 2003 to mediate disputes over the return of cultural assets looted during the Nazi era.

On September 14, 2023, a commemorative event for its 20th anniversary will be held in Berlin, attended by politicians, researchers, victim organizations, and claimants. The commission's 23 recommendations, which have been influential domestically and internationally, play a crucial role in museum decision-making and the art market. However, its limited impact is due to the requirement for cultural institutions to agree to its involvement in cases.

The commission highlights several issues:

  1. Unilateral Access: Victims and their descendants lack the ability to initiate proceedings independently. The commission calls for them to have this opportunity without relying on the cooperation of cultural institutions.

  2. Binding Decisions: The commission can only make recommendations, not enforceable decisions. Legislation is needed to define its structure, status, composition, and decision-making authority.

  3. Cultural Assets in Private Hands: Currently, proceedings primarily involve publicly owned cultural assets. The commission advocates for the inclusion of private individuals and institutions, necessitating a comprehensive restitution law.

  4. Legal Regulation Alternatives: Constitutional questions, including property rights, must be considered. Options include the commission acting as a higher federal authority or serving as a mandatory arbitration body.

  5. Provenance Research: Research funding predominantly goes to museums, lacking independent oversight. The commission calls for funds to be allocated to an independent research institute.

The Advisory Commission emphasizes Germany's moral and political responsibility as the successor to the Nazi regime but asserts that existing regulations, especially in disputed cases, are insufficient. It demands a legal framework to fulfill this responsibility adequately.

Telegram Channel

ArtDependence is now also available on the messaging platform Telegram. Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed.

Subscribing to the ArtDependence Channel allows you to easily stay up to date with the latest ArtDependence news.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Image of the Day

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Search

About ArtDependence

ArtDependence Magazine is an international magazine covering all spheres of contemporary art, as well as modern and classical art.

ArtDependence features the latest art news, highlighting interviews with today’s most influential artists, galleries, curators, collectors, fair directors and individuals at the axis of the arts.

The magazine also covers series of articles and reviews on critical art events, new publications and other foremost happenings in the art world.

If you would like to submit events or editorial content to ArtDependence Magazine, please feel free to reach the magazine via the contact page.