WJC President Ronald S. Lauder urges Germany to solve issue of Nazi-looted art once and for all

BERLIN - At an event in Berlin leading up to the 20th anniversary of the Washington Principles, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder on Thursday underscored the large gap between promised improvements in reference to Nazi-looted art and actual actions in Germany. In his speech, Lauder called on both government officials and private collectors to do more than just the bare minimum to solve the issue of Nazi-looted art.
 
“I'm afraid our topic tonight, Nazi-looted art, the Washington Principles, and the fact that we are still dealing with this topic, 73 years after the end of World War II, is simply not acceptable. It diminishes the honor of Post-War Germany,” Lauder said to a broad audience of government officials and art scholars assembled at the Axel Springer Building.
 
“We are not just talking about restituting art. We are talking about restituting history. We are talking about historical honesty. Historical justice.” Although Nazi-looted art is not just a German problem, Lauder added, “there are obvious reasons why Germany should be at the forefront of solving this issue.”
 
“It is so easy to promise to do the right thing, and I appreciate everything that was initiated by State Minister Naumann and continued by his successor, and today by State Minister Grütters, but can we please see more results?” Lauder asked. “The huge gap between official announcements and actual deeds must end.”
 
In his speech, Lauder urged that the half-hearted reform of the Limbach Advisory Commission must be completed, more money be spent, and the publication of museum’s holdings and corresponding provenance information on their websites. “What should have been done during the lifetime of the survivors, must not be passed on to yet another generation.”

 

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