Welcome to the online resource of the Commission for Art Recovery.
The Commission for Art Recovery was established in 1997 to spur efforts to restitute art that was seized, confiscated, or wrongfully taken — on a massive scale — as a result of the policies of the Third Reich and the devastation of the Holocaust. Unfortunately, even at this late date when fewer Holocaust survivors can benefit, much remains to be done as art stolen during the Nazi era is increasingly coming to the surface.
The Commission for Art Recovery deals with governments, museums, and other institutions internationally to help, through moral suasion and legal work, to bring a small measure of justice into the lives of families whose art was lost.
We champion the universal application of international laws that recognize the theft of cultural objects during genocide as a crime against humanity. For the benefit of claimants who must locate their missing art, we encourage and help museums and governments to research, identify and publicize works in their possession that may have been stolen during the years of the Third Reich. While the Commission for Art Recovery is not a claims organization, we have orchestrated the return of many works of art to their rightful owners, setting a legal precedent regarding looted art.
The art collections stolen from Jews represented an important aspect of the cultural lives of their owners and the communities where they lived; many family collections were assembled and treasured over several generations.
Returning Holocaust-looted art is an issue we believe can be solved only with morality as its primary basis. Art must not be withheld from Holocaust victims or their heirs because of legal technicalities such as statutes of limitation, laws that purport to confiscate or nationalize stolen art or post-war bilateral "global" settlements. Procedures for the restitution of art remain complicated, time-consuming, and expensive, which hinders or deters rightful claimants. The Commission for Art Recovery is working as an advocate to persuade governments to create a favorable environment by streamlining claims procedures and removing regulatory impediments for the return of the art plundered during one of history's greatest tragedies.
As you explore our website, you will learn what has been accomplished so far and our plans for making art restitution easier.