National reactions to cultural property looting in nazi Germany: a window on individual effort and international disarray

Thème de la ressource: 
Trafic d'œuvres d'art, d'antiquités, de documents anciens et de spécimens d'histoire naturelle
Déontologie - International
Litiges, retours et restitutions
Type de ressource: 
Bibliographie - Articles
Electronic Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 9.4
Pages / Longueur: 
18 p.
Langue de publication: 

Upon the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, the mass plunder of art – amidst other more sobering topics – has again been brought to the attention of the international media. In Berlin, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, designed by U.S. architect Peter Eisenman, opened on May 10; in Boston, on September 18, 2005, the New England Holocaust Memorial held an anniversary celebration. Under the Nazi regime in Europe, the operation of confiscating the cultural property of Jews was given to a special unit under the direction of Alfred Rosenberg, called the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (“ERR”); its original function was to plan and create a research library but it morphed into a project for the seizure of cultural treasures. If the entire body of loot appropriated by the Nazis had been photographed and catalogued, it would have run over 300 volumes; indeed, between one fourth and one third of Europe’s artistic treasures were pillaged by the Nazis in Hitler’s attempt to compile a cultural center of Europe in Germany. Rosenberg’s personal reports show that he ordered the plundering of 69,619 Jewish homes, and it took 26,984 railroad cars to transport the confiscated furnishings to Germany. “As of July 14, 1944, more than 21,903 art objects, including famous paintings and museum pieces, had been seized by the Einsatzstab in the West.” The Nuremberg Tribunal sentenced Rosenberg to death by hanging on the “counts of the indictment on which [he had been] convicted.”