Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Stolen Art by Nazis Finally Being Returned
If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then the Nazis are guilty of stealing millions of words, represented by the thousands of paintings and other pieces of artwork they stole. It has been called the “greatest mass theft in history,” with countless families having being robbed of precious art and heirlooms. Starting in 2005, an organization called Claims Conference and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the project of returning works of art. Around 20,000 art works are now online, which are waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners. The website was made using the archives of the German agency tasked with logging the stolen art, the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg. These documents today are housed at the French foreign ministry, the US nation archives, and the German federal archives. Much of the art belongs to French or Belgian families, and was stored in the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris during the Nazi occupation of France. Currently, there have been 260 collections and 269 owners identified in the database. It is now up to museums, art dealers, and auction houses to check whether they are in possession of any art stolen from Holocaust victims.
Jeremy L. Period 1