Israel, Germany to cooperate on Nazi-looted art
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Israel, Germany to cooperate on Nazi-looted art

Joint research by experts could help return pieces to Jewish heirs, culture minister says

A combination of photos released by prosecutors in Augsburg, Germany on November 12, 2013 show five of the more than 1,500 paintings believed looted by the Nazis, seized from a Munich flat of Cornelius Gurlitt. (Lostart.de/Augsburg prosecutors/AFP/File)
A combination of photos released by prosecutors in Augsburg, Germany on November 12, 2013 show five of the more than 1,500 paintings believed looted by the Nazis, seized from a Munich flat of Cornelius Gurlitt. (Lostart.de/Augsburg prosecutors/AFP/File)

Israel and Germany have agreed to conduct joint research in museums in both countries aimed at determining the original ownership of Jewish-owned art looted by Nazis, officials said.

Under an agreement signed Sunday by Israeli Culture Ministry Director General Orly Froman and German Culture Minister Monika Gruetters, art experts from the two countries will undergo training and coordinate the formation of joint data bases.

“The cooperation between German and Israeli institutions on provenance research of Nazi-confiscated art and Judaica is a great vote of confidence,” Gruetters said in a statement.

Culture Minister Limor Livnat said the agreement could lead to restitution of art stolen by Nazis to the Jewish heirs, a statement from her ministry read.

Livnat noted the ongoing cooperation between Israel and Germany on Nazi-era art provenance, including the presence of two Israeli curators in a German committee dealing with the collection found in the Munich flat of Cornelius Gurlitt.

Gurlitt, who died last month at 81, was the son of a Nazi-era art dealer who hoarded hundreds of paintings valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.

Prior to his death he had struck a deal with German authorities to help track down the rightful owners of the 1,280 artworks, including Jews whose property was stolen or extorted under the Third Reich.

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