Art looted by Nazis may be in Louvre
Wednesday 11 November 1998
The 1946 report "is a starting point for the investigation of looted wartime art in all the galleries and museum collections in the world," said Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, which released the 170-page list on Tuesday.
The organisation is leading a new international effort to find the Picassos, Matisses, Renoirs and other plundered works. The works are in private and public collections and could be in museums such as the Louvre in Paris and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.
"In most cases, they have been unknowingly placed there," Steinberg said.
The secret list of dealers and collectors was compiled by the art looting unit of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the US Central Intelligence Agency. Agents were sent to Europe after the war to track an estimated 200,000 looted artworks.
At least three-quarters of the works came from Jewish families, and about half were never returned, Steinberg said. A few of the dealers and collectors were themselves Jewish, according to the report.
The document, from the National Archives in Washington, names individuals who bought or sold art during the Second World War in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Luxembourg.
France, led by the pro-Hitler Vichy regime, was a prime target of the Nazi art collectors; the Wehrmacht arrived with lists of paintings and looted at least 100,000 works of art there.
The OSS document won't necessarily prove a work of art was plundered, Steinberg said, "but it's a warning flag. It's a sign we need to inquire further."
The Nazis made off with art then valued at about $2.5 billion - about equal to all the art owned in the United States at the time, Steinberg said.
Museums, curators and Jewish organisations worldwide will now use the list to track the provenance of thousands of works and try to return them to their prewar owners, Steinberg said. (AP)
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...
£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...
£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...