The search for Nazi-confiscated property – Provenance research in Saxony-Anhalt
First public conference in Saxony-Anhalt, the federal state in which the German Lost Art Foundation is based
Exemplary provenance research projects in Saxony-Anhalt were presented at the German Lost Art Foundation’s conference in Magdeburg. In a project run by Otto von Guericke University, for example, files were opened up at Saxony-Anhalt state archive and used to compile information on Nazi-confiscated objects, names of victims and names of persons involved in expropriations in preparation for provenance research. The provenance research project at the Kulturhistorisches Museum at Schloss Merseburg was also presented as an example of a practice-oriented project. “The initial check project currently being conducted at five small and medium-sized museums and administered by Museumsverband Sachsen-Anhalt is an important step towards further development of the provenance research field,” explained Prof. Uwe M. Schneede, member of the German Lost Art Foundation executive board, in the presence of the Saxony-Anhalt Minister of Cultural Affairs, Rainer Robra.
“We are also pleased to be able to announce at this conference that the Foundation’s executive board has accepted the funding request from the Bibliotheksverband Sachsen-Anhalt library association,” continued Schneede. The library association will launch an initial check project with the approved funding announced today. The aim is to establish whether the historic book holdings in publicly funded municipal libraries (in Magdeburg, Dessau, Sangerhausen, Wernigerode and Zerbst) are suspected of containing cultural assets seized as a result of Nazi persecution (Nazi-confiscated property). The initial check can subsequently determine whether or not there is a need for further, long-term provenance research. This is the first project of this kind to be carried out by a library association.
“The projects presented here today reflect the current increasing awareness of the need for provenance research in Saxony-Anhalt,” said Schneede in his summing up. In his closing speech, he also highlighted the tasks, aims and objectives of the German Lost Art Foundation.
The German Lost Art Foundation is the national and international contact partner for all matters pertaining to unlawful expropriations in Germany in the 20th century. The search for Nazi-confiscated property is the focal point of the Foundation’s work, as this conference on provenance research in Saxony-Anhalt has impressively demonstrated.