LAUNCH INAUGURAL INTERNATIONAL PROVENANCE RESEARCH TRAINING PROGRAM ON LOOTED ART IN MAGDEBURG, GERMANY
The Provenance Research Training Program (PRTP) will offer comprehensive workshops in different locations across Europe and the Americas to provide advanced training for the international community of current and future experts engaged in issues concerning cultural plunder during the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and World War II. Until now, there has been a near-absence of training programs that develop and refine critical research and analytical skills in the emerging discipline of provenance research -- the documentation of the ownership history of an art object from inception to the present day.
The Holocaust Era Assets Conference of June 2009 in Prague and the resulting Terezin Declaration endorsed by 47 countries reaffirmed the vital need for such a program. The PRTP was started by the European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI), which strives to implement the Terezin Declaration. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany helps administer the PRTP.
The inaugural PRTP workshop takes place June 10 to June 15, 2012 and is hosted by the Coordination Office for Lost Cultural Assets (the Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg), the principal organization of Germany specializing in this field.
The State Secretary for Cultural Affairs Saxony-Anhalt, Dr. Jan Hofmann, said, “It is a great honor to inaugurate the international Provenance Research Training Program in Magdeburg. I am confident that the PRTP will provide further support and assistance in the field of Nazi-looted art as well as trophy art. As these are not only national but also international issues, I believe that international cooperation such as the PRTP with supra-national working, teaching, and sharing of information is a very important way of making progress on these topics.”
Dr. Jaroslav Sonka, Director of the European Shoah Legacy Institute said, “We are pleased to support the development of the Provenance Research Training Program, since one of its goals is to strengthen ties between specialists in Europe and elsewhere, and, by so doing, develop an international network of institutions and researchers. We view this project as a significant contributor to the ethical basis underlying European integration and the transformation of countries that have embraced democracy in the past two decades.”
Dr. Wesley Fisher, Director of Research for the Conference on Jewish Claims Against Germany said, “At long last there is a mechanism to train people worldwide in a field that has really developed significantly only in the past two decades, but is of crucial importance to ensure not only fair and just restitution or compensation, but also the restitution of history.”
The PRTP presents various topics over the course of a week taught by internationally known specialists who provide an intensive historical overview of cultural plunder, methodological training, specialized research, as well as seminars and discussions on political, moral and ethical issues and restitution policies and principles. In addition to facilitating research and providing access to a vast array of information, the program will promote the establishment of an international network of provenance researchers to bring together experts in relevant fields around the world.
At the inaugural workshop, training is being provided to 35 persons and includes specialists and attendees from Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Instructors include historian Marc Masurovsky, Director of the PRTP, Washington, DC; attorney Agnes Peresztegi, executive director of the Commission for Art Recovery, Europe, Budapest; researcher Willi Korte, Washington, DC; Michael Franz and Andrea Baresel-Brand of the Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg; Thierry Bajou, Ministry for Culture and Communication of France; Lucian Simmons, Sotheby’s; Jane Milosch, Smithsonian Institution; Uwe Hartmann, Arbeitsstelle für Provenienzrecherche/-forschung, Berlin; archival specialist Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, Harvard University and International Institute of Social History; Meike Hopp, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich; attorney Ulf Bischof, Berlin; Angelika Enderlein, Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen; and others.
Attendees include persons from museums such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Israel Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, the Jewish Museum Vienna, the Hunt Museum of Ireland, and the Kunsthalle Mannheim; auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s; and a large variety of universities and other institutions. The participants will receive certificates upon completion of the workshop.
On the Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg: The Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg (est. 1994) is the central public service institution of the German Federal Government and all 16 German Länder for the documentation of cultural assets and lost cultural assets. It is based in the Ministry of Cultural Affairs (Saxony-Anhalt) in Magdeburg. One of the central activities of the Koordinierungsstelle is the documentation of Nazi-looted art and trophy art via www.lostart.de in order to establish international transparency. The Koordinierungsstelle also serves as the administrative office for Germany’s Advisory Commission for the Return of Cultural Property Seized as a Result of Nazi Persecution. Furthermore, the Koordinierungsstelle operates www.kulturgutschutz-deutschland.de, which enlists Germany’s national treasure. For more information, see www.lostart.de.
On the European Shoah Legacy Institute: The European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI) was incorporated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic on January 20th, 2010. The creation of ESLI, which is a public benefit corporation, followed the Terezin Declaration, which was endorsed by representatives of 47 states. These representatives met in June 2009 in Prague and Terezin at the Holocaust Era Assets Conference, which was organized by the Czech Presidency of the European Union Council.
In cooperation with governments, non-governmental organizations, and independent experts, ESLI seeks systemic solutions on an international level that can lead to restitution of immovable property, art, Judaica, and Jewish cultural assets stolen by the Nazis; provision of adequate social welfare to Holocaust (Shoah) survivors and other victims of Nazism; and promotion of Holocaust education, research, and remembrance.
The Institute serves as a voluntary forum for exchange of views, sharing of experience, and articulation of needs and priorities. At the same time, it is a catalyst for the parties already active in this field, helping them to identify and develop best practices and work guidelines.
The Institute’s sphere of action is international. It operates in affiliation with the European Union and with European countries inside and outside of the EU. The Institute also has a close working relationship with non-European states, particularly the United States and Israel. For more information, see www.shoahlegacy.org
On the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany: The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) represents world Jewry in negotiating for compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs. The Claims Conference administers compensation funds, recovers unclaimed Jewish property, and allocates funds to institutions that provide social welfare services to Holocaust survivors and preserve the memory and lessons of the Shoah.
For 60 years, the Claims Conference has been the leading international advocate for the rights and interests of Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. Claims Conference negotiations have led to agreements with government and industry in Germany and Austria that have resulted in large-scale acknowledgements of crimes committed against the Jewish people. Since negotiations in 1952 with the Claims Conference, German government payments to Holocaust survivors total more than $60 billion. Since 1980, the Claims Conference has administered nine additional compensation programs to individual Jewish victims of Nazism, paying more than $6 billion. Negotiations are held every year with the German government to liberalize eligibility criteria and include additional Nazi victims in compensation programs, and to increase payments.
The Claims Conference also allocates funds for vital social services for Jewish victims of Nazism in 47 countries. The majority of funding for these allocations derives from the Claims Conference Successor Organization, which recovers unclaimed Jewish property in the former East Germany; and from the German government. The Claims Conference also allocates a portion of its funds from the East German property sales to Shoah research, education, and documentation, in order to preserve the memories of those who perished and educate future generations about the Holocaust. The Claims Conference and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) conduct a comprehensive Looted Art and Cultural Property Initiative toward the restitution of Jewish-owned art and cultural property lost and plundered during the Holocaust.
The Claims Conference and the WJRO work with relevant Jewish communities and governments around the world to bring increased attention to this area. The organizations focus on the systemic issues involved in art restitution with the intent of improving and creating processes to enable more owners and heirs to recover their property. For more information, see www.claimscon.org
For further information on the PRTP, please see www.provenanceresearch.org
Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg: Dr. Michael Franz, Director, Turmschanzenstraße 32, 39114 Magdeburg, Phone: ++49 (0) 391-5673891, Fax: ++49 (0) 391-5673899, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.lostart.de, www.kulturgutschutz-deutschland.de
European Shoah Legacy Institute: Tereza Knapová, Deputy Director, Rytířská 31,
110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic, Phone: +420 224 186 243, Fax: +420 224 186 241, email@example.com, www.shoahlegacy.org
Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany: Hillary Kessler-Godin, Director of Communications, 1359 Broadway, New York, NY 10018. Phone: ++1 646-485-2021, Hillary.firstname.lastname@example.org, www.claimscon.org