WWII - Looted Judaica

Database of lost objects of the JHM prewar collection and objects with unknown provenance of the present JHM collection.

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American soldier, with objects of the Jewish Historical Museum, found in a safe in Hungen, 1945. Photo Lincoln Kirstein CollectionThe Jewish Historical Museum has been conducting research into the war history of its collection since 2000. The collection was confiscated by the Nazis in 1943 and transported to Germany. Those items that returned from the American Central Collecting Point (CCP) in Offenbach to the Netherlands in 1946, formed the basis of the collection of the reopened Museum in 1955.

From the research we conducted we learned that a number of objects that was transported to Germany is still missing. The Jewish Historical Museum is looking for the whereabouts of these objects. Among the objects of the present museum collection are items of which provenance is unknown. Some of these objects arrived from the CCP in Offenbach. In the present collection one also finds objects that were registered as museum property in 1955, but are in fact prewar loans. The Jewish Historical Museum is looking for the heirs of these prewar lenders.

In 2007, an eighteenth-century Dutch Ashkenazi Torah mantle was identified on the World War II Provenance Research Online website of Jerusalem's Israel Museum. It had been given on loan to the Jewish Historical Museum in 1936 by the Jewish Community of Leiden and had been taken with the rest of the museum collection to the Institut zur Erforschung der Judenfrage in Frankfurt a/M and later to Hungen, where it had been found in 1945 by US soldiers. Unlike most of the museum's remaining artefacts, the mantle appears to have been forgotten and was not returned, finding its way instead to the Central Collecting Point in Wiesbaden when the Offenbach Archival Depot was closed, and from there via Jewish Cultural Reconstruction (JCR) to the Israel Museum. Leiden's Jewish Community has since been informed of the item's present location by the Jewish Historical Museum and has claimed the mantle from the Israel Museum. As of March 2013, the claim has not yet been settled.

Database

You can search the database for missing objects of the prewar collection and objects with unknown provenance of our present collection. The database also includes objects from prewar lenders that were registered as museum property in 1955.

More information on research method and use of the database.

In accordance with the international agreements and a resolution of the Association of European Jewish Museums on provenance research and restitution, cultural institutions should do provenance research of their collections and make the information accessible to the public.

In case you have information for us or have questions, please contact the Jewish Historical Museum.

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