Today’s election of Olaf Scholz as Angela Merkel’s successor marks the official start of the new „traffic light“ coalition government. The new government draws its name from the colours traditionally associated with the supporting parties: „red“ Social Democrats, „yellow“ Liberals and the “Green” Party. These three parties have set out their legislative programme in a 177-page coalition agreement (Koalitionsvertrag). Both Nazi looted art and art from a colonial context feature in the Coalition Agreement. Almost inevitably, like in other fields, the Coalition Agreement is short on detail. For Nazi looted art, however, its brevity notwithstanding, the Coalition Agreement defines four concrete legislative goals*. Here they are, with my initial assessment: Continue reading
On 26 March 2021, the Advisory Commission published its recommendation regarding the restitution claim brought by the heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi against Düsseldorf. As noted earlier, the Advisory Commission appears to be on track for a new record: It started the year with two recommendations regarding Max Fischer v. Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, and Heinrich Rieger v. Stadt Köln within a couple of days, and now issued its third decision in 2021. To put this into perspective: From its inception in 2005 until 2020, the Advisory Commission had issued a total of 18 recommendations. With one exception, it never issued more than two recommendations in one year, and never more than three.
In its most recent decisions, the Advisory Commission recommends that the City of Düsseldorf returns the Franz Marc painting “Füchse” to the heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi. The recommendation was not made unanimously. It was passed by a majority, with six members voting in favour, and three against the recommendation. Continue reading
From its beginning in 2005 until 2020, the Advisory Commission has issued a total of 18 recommendations, and with one exception, it has never issued more that two recommendations in one year – in 2016, three recommendations were handed down. Given its start into 2021, the Advisory Commission might be on track for a new record. It started with two recommendations within a couple of days: On 2 February 2021, the Advisory Commission published its decision in Max Fischer v. Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, followed by a second recommendation in Heinrich Rieger v. Stadt Köln on 8 February 2021. Continue reading
The restitution case of Felix Hildesheimer’s heirs against the Hagemann Foundation made news recently: On 18 January 2021, the Advisory Commission (Limbach Commission) issued a press release that for the first time in its history, a recommendation it had made had not been implemented. The Hildesheimer case also highlighted an argument that the law on private foundations might be an impediment to restitution. Continue reading