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Mar 2006 Journal

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Central Office for Holocaust Claims

Restitution of stolen Jewish property

The City of Vienna is searching for the former owners of art and cultural items stolen during the Nazi era so that the objects, owned by the City, can be returned to the rightful parties.

On 29 April 1999 the Vienna City Council decided that art and cultural items held in the city's museums, libraries, archives and collections appropriated during the Nazi era were to be considered questionable acquisitions. There are clear indications that these objects were obtained from Jewish owners through acts of robbery, confiscation and expropriation and were later auctioned or sold as a result of Nazi persecution.

It is thus important that such objects still in the possession of the City of Vienna be restored to their initial owners or their legal successors. The restitution of these items is the remaining step of Austria's indemnification efforts.

Since 27 September 2001 the museums of the City of Vienna have published on their website 148 objects acquired from the Vugesta (Gestapo Office for the Disposal of the Property of Jewish Emigrants) with photos and a detailed description of the articles. Additionally, there is a list of 1,545 objects on the website of the Museum der Stadt Wien (www.wienmuseum.at) that were appropriated during the Nazi era.

Relevant information on the origins of the items should be addressed to Dr Peter Eppel, Wien Museum, Karlsplatz, A-1040, Wien, Karlsplatz, Austria. The telephone number is +43 1 505 87 47 84034.

Written enquiries should be sent to Central Office for Holocaust Claims (UK), Jubilee House, Merrion Avenue, Stanmore, Middx HA7 4RL, by fax to 020 8385 3075, or by email to mnewman@ajr.org.uk
Michael Newman & Samara Wolinsky

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