Holocaust-Era Looted Art
Secretary of State
This month we commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Inter-Allied Declaration against Acts of Dispossession Committed in Territories under Enemy Occupation and Control, known as the London Declaration of January 5, 1943. Beginning with the London Declaration, the United States implemented a policy of returning Nazi-confiscated art, including art taken through forced and coerced transfers, to its countries of origin, with the expectation that the art would be returned to its lawful owners. Under U.S. leadership, the international community has endorsed these principles as well. In the 1998 Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art and the Terezin Declaration of the 2009 Prague Conference on Holocaust Assets, more than forty countries joined the United States in agreeing that their respective legal systems or alternative dispute resolution processes should facilitate just and fair solutions for art that was taken by the Nazis and their collaborators. In reaffirming these commitments, the Department of State expresses no view on any issue currently in litigation. U.S. policy will continue to support the fair and just resolution of claims involving Nazi-confiscated art, in light of the provenance and rightful ownership of each particular work, while also respecting the bona fide internal restitution proceedings of foreign governments.