Private restitution of Nazi looted art was until recently an underestimated issue on the agenda of nations and art institutions. The historical and legal context shows clearly that WWII brought the protection of cultural property on the foreground. Private parties were left out of the scope of all international agreements that provided for the restitution of Nazi looted art. A private party in order to establish its claim for restitution has to deal with the legal complexities that arise. This essay attempts to present and compare the relevant case law and to portray the new tendencies. Emphasis is given to alternative dispute resolution particularly in connection to the special advisory commissions/panels, which followed the Washington Principles 1998. Moreover, this essay tries to inform about the private cultural property of the Greek Jews of Thessaloniki, presenting the results of a compressed yet fruitful research in published sources and the archives of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki.
Cultural property--Protection--Europe--History--20th century
Art thefts--Germany--History--20th century
World War, 1939-1945--Art and the war
Art treasures in war--Europe--History--20th century