At the end of World War II, Allied forces attempted to return works of art that had been looted during the conflict to their rightful owners. The fate of art owned by European Jews and stolen by the Nazis, so-called “Holocaust art,” presents a special case. Over the last 25 years, Holocaust art lawsuits have led to international conferences, the opening of state archives, the sharing of information, and ultimately, the return of many more works of art. But a much larger number of works have still not been returned, and legal questions persist as claimants attempt to assert their rights. This course begins with an overview of the ‘movement of art’ in Europe during World War II. It will explore the law of stolen property and its implications for the return of Holocaust art. It will also examine ongoing recovery efforts, as well as the rules that art museums have promulgated in response to this issue.
Jewish Studies programming is supported by the Fund for the Jewish Future of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and The Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies Educational Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.