A Window on Individual Effort and International Disarray

Molly Ann Torsen

Individual countries involved in World War II are being called upon to examine their histories and implement policies or plans that will facilitate the restitution of cultural property looted during the Holocaust. Efforts up to now have had varying degrees of success, depending largely upon the unique circumstances under which a specific piece of art or cultural property was displaced and subsequently found. Domestic property laws, international conventions and museum policies, amongst other considerations, all play a part in the intricate web of cultural property restitution. International diplomacy, rather than strict legal tenets, may provide the strongest means by which to restitute individual pieces of art. It is essential that governments, museums, and private parties acknowledge the problem that looted art poses, recognize that laws for returning it are insufficient, and act responsibly, ethically, and collaboratively to facilitate efforts to restitute Nazi-looted art.

Cite as: Molly Ann Torsen, National Reactions to Cultural Property Looting in Nazi Germany: A Window on Individual Effort and International Disarray, vol 9.4 ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LAW, (December 2005), <>.

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1. Introduction
2. Efforts made by the United States
3. Austria
4. Russia
5. France
6. Conclusion

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