Tuesday 24 June 2014

Israel and Germany agree to cooperate on looted art

This blog has often covered cases and disputes over art stolen from Jews during World War II.

The most recent news on this topic appears to be rather positive. Last week Israel and Germany signed an agreement under which joint-research will be conducted in museums in both countries to determine the provenance of art suspected to be Jewish-owned art looted during World War II.

The AFP reports that under the agreement, which was signed by the countries' respective Culture Ministers, art experts from Israel and Germany will undergo training and coordinate the formation of joint databases.

The agreement apparently formalises the ongoing cooperation between the two countries, which was particularly tested recently with the discovery of the "Gurlitt stash" (reported here, here and here).

German Culture Minister Monika Gruetters released a statement about the agreement, which says that the agreement represents a "huge vote of confidence" as Germany does not work with any other country in this way. The statement also provides further details as to how the agreement and cooperation between the countries is intended to work in practice. [Unfortunately it is in German, and that's about as far as my German goes. Curious German speakers can read the rest here.]

It will be interesting to see if there is any change to looted art cases going forward, in the wake of this agreement.

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