Sunday 23 June 2013

Russia Urged to Return WW2 Loot.

A US source  is reporting that:
"Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Russia to return art and antiquities looted from eastern Germany in World War II by Josef Stalin’s Soviet Trophy Commission and said she’s optimistic a solution can be found. Merkel spoke at the opening of an exhibition on the Bronze Age at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, which includes 600 objects seized from Germany during or after World War II" 
Two things, she seems never to have actually delivered that speech, and secondly is it not time that the US started to give consideration to giving back what they took from Germany and Japan in the same circumstances? Note that US 'justifications' for hanging onto such war loot are the same as those used by Russia.

"What is seized in war should remain seized", Arthur Houghton June 11th 2013

Catherine Hickley Stalin's World War II Loot Should Return to Germany, Merkel Says' Bloomberg, Jun 22, 2013.


Cultural Property Observer said...

The US Government gave Germany back its cultural artfacts long ago. Right after the war there was an exhibition of German paintings at the National Gallery of Art. Although some thought the paintings should be kept there, they were returned in the late 1940's or early 1950's. What was kept were examples of military instruments (planes, tanks etc. some of which are on display today) and Nazi documents like that diary. Quite different things. Russia on the other hand has kept a lot, supposedly as compensation for the damage done to Russian cultural artifacts-- but certainly all the combatants did quite a lot of damage to cultural treasures. As for the US, the destruction of Monte Cassino and participation in the bombing of Dresden come to mind.

Paul Barford said...

Well, I suppose one might ask what all those paintings were doing the other side of the Atlantic anyway...

There is other material however in public collections which is not "military instruments", such as Hitler's private library in the Library of Congress and the documentary material concerning the wanderings of works of art 1933-45, which should be kept over here in the area it concerns and not halfway around the world.

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