The Israel Museum has launched an on-line catalogue of works of art and Judaica looted during World War II and given to the museum after the war, the museum announced Sunday. The Jerusalem museum houses several hundred works stolen during the Holocaust that either have no record of prior ownership or came from institutions that did not survive the war. The property was originally given to the Bezalel National Museum, the Israel Museum's predecessor, by the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization, which was charged with reclaiming stolen Jewish property and which transferred many works of art and Judaica to Jewish institutions in Israel and around the world. The works were subsequently moved to the Israel Museum in 1965, when the museum was founded. The on-line catalogue - accessible on the Israel Museum's Web site, www.imj.org.il - provides information on paintings, drawings and Judaica objects, and includes images, titles of works, names of artists (if known), countries of origin (if known), dimensions and other identifying characteristics. The Web site, which is entitled World War II Provenance Research Online , was launched in cooperation with the newly-established Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims' Assets in Israel, which had pressured the museum and other public institutions in Israel to publicize the information in accordance with the law. Avraham Roet, head of the restitution organization, praised the museum on Sunday for fully acceding to the request to list the information after initially balking at the move. "This is a major moral accomplishment for the state of Israel," said Roet, a Holocaust survivor. Roet said that this was the first time that a Jewish museum was searching for heirs for artwork stolen in the Holocaust and given to Jewish organizations after the war. The new Web site provides instructions for requesting property restitution. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- http://www.jpost.com
Check the website and click JUDAICA by Subject. Under cups, for example, the NAMES appear on
most kiddush cups.(unfortunately not photographed to take advantage online
-Why?) This is a wonderful opportunity to restore family cultural
objects and in these few cases, there may actually be HEIRS alive who
can match those names to their ancestors. Too bad 1) They were kept so
long 2) This is the only Jewish Museum attempting to restore items they
received at war's end.
It was with a heavy heart that I looked at each illustrated page of cups, chanukiot, paintings and other objects that came from households whose members suffered such persecution. It's so different than other museums provenance research pages, where there is no assumption that the gaps in provenances automatically mean that they were looted-- In this case, each and every vessel holds a tragedy.