Germany and Israel Will Cooperate on Nazi Looted Art

Experts Will Seek To Find Rightful Jewish Owners

Who’s Art? German official discusses the massive art trove found in the apartment of Munich hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt.
getty images
Who’s Art? German official discusses the massive art trove found in the apartment of Munich hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt.

By JTA

Published June 17, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Germany and Israel agreed to cooperate on finding the heirs to art that was stolen or looted from Jews during the Nazi era.

German Minister of Culture Monika Grutters and her Israeli counterpart, Limor Livnat, signed an agreement on Sunday in Jerusalem on the terms of their cooperation aimed at correcting decades of injustice, the German news agency dpa reported.

Through the sharing of databases and training of experts, German and Israeli authorities will work together in search of the provenance of works whose fate during the Third Reich remains unclear.

The agreement is an outgrowth of revelations of a controversial collection of more than 1,000 works confiscated from the Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt in 2012. Under pressure from international organizations representing survivors and their heirs, Germany established a task force of experts to research the provenance of hundreds of works, including some by Picasso, Matisse, Beckmann and others. The task force includes German, Israeli and U.S. experts.

Gurlitt died in April at 81, leaving the entire collection to the Art Museum Bern Foundation, Switzerland. It is unclear whether the museum will accept the gift, which includes the duty to continue the provenance research.

Earlier this year, Ronald Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress, decried the slow pace of research and restitution to the heirs of Jewish collectors, many of whom had works stolen or confiscated, or were forced to sell them at low prices before attempting to flee Nazi Germany.

In 1998, 44 countries — including Germany — signed the Washington Declaration committing themselves to seeking long-lost artwork that ended up in museums and other public collections. But the pace has been painfully slow, some say, because museum directors are reluctant to spend money and personnel on research that could lead to the loss of works from their collections.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.