More than 20,000 pieces of art stolen by the Nazis during World War Two can now be searched in an online catalogue for Holocaust survivors and their relatives to reclaim.
A new database, which launches today, is comprised of objects stolen by Hitler’s Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), the “special task force”, one of the main agencies involved in the plunder of cultural valuables from Nazi-occupied countries during the war.
A painstaking inventory of the valuables has been published - along with photographs and remaining registration cards - by New York’s Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany in collaboration with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
Works stolen form the French Jewish collectors and art historians in Paris as well as a number of Belgian Jewish collections from 1940 to 1944 are among the items now catalogued online.
“Searchable by individual objects and by the owners from whom these objects were taken, the database is a detailed record of a small but important part of the vast seizure of cultural property that was integral to the Holocaust,” the Claims Conference states on its website.
The problem of repatriating an estimated 650,000 items of Nazi loot 65-years after the war ended is still prescient. Wesley A. Fisher, director of research at the Claims Conference, told the Daily Mail that over half the stolen property is still unclaimed.
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