Conference May 2-4, 2017
The question of how to deal with cultural property or looted property held "in trust" concerns libraries, archives, museums, and Jewish institutions.
While ordinary kinds of acquisition in cultural institutions, i.e. purchases, donations, deposit copies or exchanges, have been examined within the scope of NS provenance research, another type of transaction has been mostly overlooked so far. It concerns the transfer of objects with conditions attached, with institutions accepting items “in trust”, as loans or as legacies, or objects being allocated to institutions by the state, which occurred as part of NS book and art looting as well as in the course of later political developments.
On the basis of how libraries, archives and museums have so far dealt with cultural objects held “in trust”, national and international librarians, historians, curators and legal experts are invited to discuss structured procedures and lead an interdisciplinary debate on the requirements, chances and limits of appropriate measures concerning objects which have been illegally acquired and have been received "in trust".
Olivia Kaiser, Christina Köstner-Pemsel und Markus Stumpf
NS-provenance research aims at identifying and restituting cultural property looted in Europe under National Socialism.
A great number of books looted between 1933 and 1945 were integrated into the holdings of Vienna University Library. In the post-war era, there were only few and isolated instances of restitutions. In 2004 Vienna University Library was the first university library in Austria to begin the systematic process of searching for and restituting looted property.
Today Vienna University is critically assessing the role it played as part of the NS system. One of a broad range of research projects addressing this issue, the NS-Provenance Research work group of Vienna University Library is actively contributing to the commemoration of the victims of National Socialism.
Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung und Restitution - Bibliotheken