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Reparation Art: Finding Common Ground in the Resolution of Disputes on Russian War Spoils and Nazi-Looted Art

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Abstract

The Second World War gave rise to an immense amount of unapproved cultural property transfers. The ongoing emergence of restitution demands related to these transfers shows that time does not heal all wounds. Instead, two types of restitution claims are now the subject of a heated debate: War spoils brought from Germany to Russia in the aftermath of the war and Nazi-looted art held in private and public collections. Notwithstanding the very differing considerations they entail, both restitution contexts are intrinsically tied to the argument of “reparation art” according to which cultural property may serve as compensation for the harm suffered because of the war. Moreover, they both are undergoing regulatory tensions and various initiatives which attempt to put an end to claims resulting from the Second World War.

On the one hand, the Russian–German conflict over war spoils which have been held in Russia since the end of the war has led both countries to enter into peace and cooperation agreements, as well as to develop a collaborative approach on the matter of unlawfully transferred art. However, on the other hand, the supportive relationship between both governments has met with great criticism within Russia. In the end, the Russian Law on Cultural Valuables nationalised all German cultural property that was brought to Russia in the course of the Second World War and is now located on its territory.

In the context of Nazi-looted art, legal and procedural barriers render it very difficult for the heirs of the victims to seek redress. In fact, doctrines such as statutes of limitations, prescriptions and good faith acquisition all protect the property titles of current possessors. On the other hand, the existing trend supporting a moral understanding of the harm suffered by Nazi-looted victims has been expressed at several occasions and stipulated in declarations, such as in the Washington Conference Principles of 1998.

In either context, the conflicting approaches show that one side has not yet come to terms with the past. Cultural property is considered as a means of reparation for the harm caused to Russia and the victims of Nazi looting during the war. Thus, the curtain drawn down over history by the laws and initiatives is ineffective. Against this background, this chapter holds that the tensions in both contexts can be overcome by reasonable negotiation, i.e., a way of settling disputes based on the parties’ interests and needs as well as innovative solutions. By means of several case studies, this paper aims to show the successes of reasonable negotiation for the resolution of restitution claims. Especially regarding highly emotional issues, the use of negotiation represents a process controlled by the parties that enables them to find a just and fair outcome to their dispute. Moreover, the chapter also touches on some of the limits of negotiation.

Keywords

  • Cultural Property
  • Civil Code
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Cultural Object
  • Hague Convention

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Bandle et al. (2012d), Case Sammlung 101.

  2. 2.

    Varoli (2000).

  3. 3.

    Bandle et al. (2012b), Case Marienkirche Window Panels.

  4. 4.

    Bandle et al. (2012a), Case Baldin Collection.

  5. 5.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 190.

  6. 6.

    Akinsha (2010), pp. 283 et seq.

  7. 7.

    Chechi et al. (2012), Case Madonna and Child in a Landscape.

  8. 8.

    Shimron (2008).

  9. 9.

    Shimron (2008).

  10. 10.

    Bandle et al. (2012h), Case Cranach Diptych.

  11. 11.

    Bandle et al. (2012e), Affaire Vallée de la Stour.

  12. 12.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 193.

  13. 13.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 193.

  14. 14.

    Article 4 of the Federal Law on Cultural Valuables Displaced to the USSR as a Result of the Second World War and Located on the Territory of the Russian Federation, No. 64-FZ of 15 April 1998, amended in May 2000 and April 2004 (hereafter 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables). For a translated version of the amended law, see Akinsha and Grimsted (2010), pp. 413–426.

  15. 15.

    As a reminder, the 1954 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which Russia ratified in 1957 together with the protocol, expressly forbids to retain cultural property seized from war zones as war reparations.

  16. 16.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 193.

  17. 17.

    Op. cit. fn. 14.

  18. 18.

    Bandle et al. (2012d), Case Sammlung 101.

  19. 19.

    Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Good-Neighbourliness, Partnership and Cooperation, 9.11.1990, 30 ILM 505 (1991).

  20. 20.

    Article 16 para. 2 of the 1990 Treaty on Good Neighbourliness, Partnership and Cooperation.

  21. 21.

    Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Russian Federation on Cultural Cooperation (Abkommen zwischen der Regierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Regierung der Russischen Föderation über kulturelle Zusammenarbeit) signed in Moscow, 16 December 1992, Bundesgesetzblatt Teil II (1993): 1256, http://archiv.jura.uni-saarland.de/BGBl/TEIL2/1993/19931256.2.HTML. Accessed 28 July 2011.

  22. 22.

    Article 15 of the 1992 Treaty on Cultural Cooperation.

  23. 23.

    Hiller (1997), p. 179.

  24. 24.

    Article 56 of The Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 18 October 1907.

  25. 25.

    Fiedler (1997), p. 177.

  26. 26.

    Jenschke (2006), pp. 363 et seq.

  27. 27.

    Gattini (1996), p. 77.

  28. 28.

    Hiller (1997), p. 179.

  29. 29.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 192.

  30. 30.

    Bandle (2012), p. 244.

  31. 31.

    See below Sect. 2.2.2.2.2.

  32. 32.

    See below Sect. 2.2.2.2.1.

  33. 33.

    President of Russia Website (2001).

  34. 34.

    Grimsted (2003), p. 94.

  35. 35.

    Grimsted (2003), p. 94.

  36. 36.

    Grimsted (2010), p. 242.

  37. 37.

    Heyden (2002).

  38. 38.

    Grimsted (2010), p. 242.

  39. 39.

    Grimsted (2003), p. 94.

  40. 40.

    Decree of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, On a moratorium on the return of cultural valuables displaced in the years of the Great Fatherland [Second World War], April 2, 1995, no. 725-I GD. Sobranie zakonodatelstva RF, 1995, art. 6.

  41. 41.

    Fiedler (1997), p. 177.

  42. 42.

    Fiedler (1997), p. 177.

  43. 43.

    Op. cit. fn. 41.

  44. 44.

    Article 6 para. 1 of the 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables.

  45. 45.

    Article 6 para. 2 of the 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables.

  46. 46.

    Article 8 para. 1 of the 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables.

  47. 47.

    Article 8 para. 2 of the 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables.

  48. 48.

    Article 8 para. 3 of the 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables.

  49. 49.

    Article 7 of the 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables.

  50. 50.

    Article 9 of the 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables.

  51. 51.

    Monten (2004), p. 64.

  52. 52.

    Bandle et al. (2012d), Case Sammlung 101.

  53. 53.

    Eichwede (2010), p. 395; Decree of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation: “On the matter of the decision in the conflict between the Council of the Federation and the President of the Russian Federation, between the State Duma and the President of the Russian Federation on the imperative for the President of the Russian Federation to sign the approved Federal Law on cultural valuables displaced to the USSR as a result of the Second World War and located on the territory of the Russian Federation,” transl. Grimsted et al. (2007), pp. 301 et seq.

  54. 54.

    Akulenko (1997), p. 19.

  55. 55.

    Grimsted (2010), p. 219.

  56. 56.

    Ritter (1998), p. 447.

  57. 57.

    Akinsha (2010), p. 264.

  58. 58.

    Akinsha (2010), p. 264.

  59. 59.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 192; Fiedler (1997), p. 177.

  60. 60.

    Hiller (1997), pp. 180, 182 et seqq.

  61. 61.

    Gattini (1996), p. 77.

  62. 62.

    Gattini (1996), p. 77.

  63. 63.

    Gattini (1996), p. 77.

  64. 64.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 193.

  65. 65.

    Grimsted (2010), p. 219.

  66. 66.

    Kulturstiftung der Länder Website (2013).

  67. 67.

    Kulturstiftung der Länder Website (2013) and Hochfield (2011).

  68. 68.

    Hochfield (2011).

  69. 69.

    Schnabel and Tatzkow (2007), p. 15.

  70. 70.

    Forrest (2010), p. 201; Section 21 (1) English Sales of Goods Act 1979; § 2-403 (1) Uniform Commercial Code.

  71. 71.

    Siehr (2004), p. 83.

  72. 72.

    Prott (1989), p. 254; Schönenberger (2009), p. 116.

  73. 73.

    Schönenberger (2009), p. 134.

  74. 74.

    Schönenberger (2009), p. 134; Redmond-Cooper (1998), p. 151.

  75. 75.

    Article 934 para. 1 of the Swiss Civil Code.

  76. 76.

    Federal Act on the International Transfer of Cultural Property of 20 June 2003.

  77. 77.

    Article 934 para. 1bis of the Swiss Civil Code.

  78. 78.

    Article 933 of the Swiss Civil Code.

  79. 79.

    Article 936 of the Swiss Civil Code.

  80. 80.

    Article 2276 of the French Civil Code.

  81. 81.

    Cornu et al. (2012), p. 805.

  82. 82.

    Article 1153 of the Italian Civil Code.

  83. 83.

    Article 929 German Civil Code (BGB).

  84. 84.

    Article 935 para. 1 of the German Civil Code (BGB); Oberlandesgericht München, Decision of 10 January 1973, Aktenzeichen: VIII ZR 132/71, Warneyer Rechtsprechung des Bundesgerichtshofs in Zivilsachen, Jahrgang 1973, 1. Halbband, N. 3, pp. 9 et seqq.; Schönenberger (2009), p. 121.

  85. 85.

    Article 935 (2) German Civil Code (BGB). Under Swiss and French law, the fact that the lost or stolen object was purchased at auction does not give rise to a different protection, but to a right of the bona fide purchaser to be reimbursed by the claimant for the price paid (Article 934 (2) of the Swiss Civil Code and Article 2277 (1) of the French Civil Code).

  86. 86.

    UK Limitation Act 1980 s. 4; De Préval v Adrian Alan Ltd, QBD (1997) unreported, Arden J. Foreign Law; Redmond-Cooper (1998), pp. 147–148; Schönenberger (2009), p. 131. For other exceptions in common law systems to the nemo dat principle in relation with good faith, Schönenberger (2009), pp. 116 et seqq.

  87. 87.

    See below Sect. 2.3.1.2.

  88. 88.

    Redmond-Cooper (1998), p. 157.

  89. 89.

    Kaufman (2000), p. 287.

  90. 90.

    O’Keefe v. Snyder, 416 A.2d 862, 869 (N.J. 1980); Schönenberger (2009), p. 123; Redmond-Cooper (1998), p. 154.

  91. 91.

    Chechi et al. (2013).

  92. 92.

    Kaufman (2000), p. 287.

  93. 93.

    Menzel v. List, 253 N.Y.S.2d 43 (App. Div. 1964), 267 N.Y.S. 2d 804 (Sup. Ct. 1966); modified and aff. 279N.Y.S. 2d 608 (1967); reversed as to modifications 298 N.Y.S. 2d 297 (1969).

  94. 94.

    Redmond-Cooper (1998), pp. 157 et seqq.

  95. 95.

    DeWeerth v. Baldinger, 658 F. Supp. 688 (S.D.N.Y.), revised, 836 F.2d 103 (2nd Cir. 1987).

  96. 96.

    836 F.2d 103, 107.

  97. 97.

    The defence of laches lead to the forfeiture of a claim because of a wrongful delay by the claimant in bringing suit. More on laches, Kaufman (2000), pp. 297 et seqq., Schönenberger (2009), p. 128.

  98. 98.

    Bakalar v. Vavra & Fischer, 237 F.R.D. 59 (S.D.N.Y. 2006); 550 F.Supp.2d 548 (S.D.N.Y. 2008); vacated and remanded, 619 F.3d 136 (2d Cir. 2010); on remand, 819 F. Supp. 2d 293 (S.D.N.Y., 2011), affd, No. 11-4042, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 21042 (2d Cir. N.Y. Oct. 11, 2012).

  99. 99.

    Siehr (2004), p. 89.

  100. 100.

    Schönenberger (2009), p. 112.

  101. 101.

    Rose (1985), p. 79. For an example of a restitution claim for Nazi-looted art which was barred by adverse possession, Orkin et al. v. Taylor, 487 F3d 734, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 11623 (9th Cir. Cal., 18 May 2007).

  102. 102.

    Article 728 of the Swiss Civil Code.

  103. 103.

    Article 33 of the Swiss Cultural Property Transfer Act.

  104. 104.

    Article 1 para. 2 of the Swiss Cultural Property Transfer Act.

  105. 105.

    Article 937 para. 1 of the German Civil Code (BGB); Cornu et al. (2012), pp. 799 et seqq.

  106. 106.

    Cornu et al. (2012), p. 800.

  107. 107.

    Article 2261 and 2276 of the French Civil Code.

  108. 108.

    Article 2258 of the French Civil Code; Schönenberger (2009), p. 113.

  109. 109.

    Appellationshof des Kantons Bern, 29 April 1953 (unreported).

  110. 110.

    Article 728 of the Swiss Civil Code; Siehr (2004), p. 79.

  111. 111.

    Swiss Federal Court Ruling 94 II 297 of 13 December 1968.

  112. 112.

    Bandle et al. (2012e), Affaire Vallée de la Stour.

  113. 113.

    Prott (1989), p. 270; Kaufman (2000), pp. 286 et seq.

  114. 114.

    Raschèr (2006), p. 449.

  115. 115.

    Ludi (2012), p. 2.

  116. 116.

    Bandle et al. (2012g), Case Blumengarten.

  117. 117.

    The country summary of Sweden explicitly mentioned that despite the painting’s uncontested looted past, the Museum had to date not returned the painting.

  118. 118.

    Bandle et al. (2012e), Affaire Vallée de la Stour.

  119. 119.

    See, for instance, the “FDHA/FDFA report on the state of work on Nazi-looted art, in particular, on the subject of provenance research” by the Swiss government expressly recalling the 1998 Washington Principles and 2009 Terezin Declaration, http://www.bak.admin.ch/kulturerbe/04402/index.html?lang=en&download=NHzLpZeg7t,lnp6I0NTU042l2Z6ln1ad1IZn4Z2qZpnO2Yuq2Z6gpJCEdX12gGym162epYbg2c_JjKbNoKSn6A--. Accessed 5 February 2013.

  120. 120.

    Hiller (1997), p. 180.

  121. 121.

    Ludi (2012), p. 2.

  122. 122.

    Bandle et al. (2012b), Case Marienkirche Window Panels.

  123. 123.

    The second return regarding cultural property which was enabled under the 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables concerned four fragmentary mosaics claimed by Ukraine, see Grimsted (2010), p. 241.

  124. 124.

    Grimsted (2002), p. 4.

  125. 125.

    Bandle et al. (2012b), Case Marienkirche Window Panels.

  126. 126.

    Article 18 of the 1998 Law on Cultural Valuables.

  127. 127.

    On the transfer to the Federal Republic of Germany stained-glass windows from the Church of Saint Mary (Marienkirche) in Frankfurt on Oder, displaced to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic as a result of the Second World War and held in the State Hermitage: Federal Law, 17 April 2002, no. 37-FZ; On the designation of stained-glass windows from the Church of Saint Mary (Marienkirche) in Frankfurt on Oder, displaced to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic as a result of Second World War and held in the A.S. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts: Federal Law, 3 April 2008, no. 42-FZ.

  128. 128.

    Bandle et al. (2012b), Case Marienkirche Window Panels.

  129. 129.

    Christiane Gentili di Giuseppe et al. v. Musée du Louvre, Court of Appeal of Paris, 1st Division, Section A, June 2, 1999, n. 1998/19209.

  130. 130.

    See Bandle et al. (2013).

  131. 131.

    Menzel v. List, 253 N.Y.S.2d 43 (App. Div. 1964), 267 N.Y.S. 2d 804 (Sup. Ct. 1966); modified and aff. 279 N.Y.S. 2d 608 (1967); reversed as to modifications 298 N.Y.S. 2d 297 (1969).

  132. 132.

    Menzel v. List, 49 Misc.2d 300, at 301.

  133. 133.

    Fed. Republic of Germany v. Elicofon, 358 F.Supp. 747 (E.D.N.Y. 1970), aff’d sub nom. Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar v. Elicofon, 478 F.2d 231 (2d Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 931 (1974), reh’g denied, 416 U.S. 952 (1974); see also Fed. Republic of Germany v. Elicofon, 536 F. Supp. 813 (E.D.N.Y. 1978); Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar v. Elicofon, 536 F. Supp. 829 (E.D.N.Y. 1981), aff’d, 678 F.2d 1150 (2d Cir. 1982).

  134. 134.

    Bandle (2012), p. 244.

  135. 135.

    Eichwede (2010), p. 390.

  136. 136.

    Bandle et al. (2012d), Case Sammlung 101.

  137. 137.

    Bandle (2012), p. 244.

  138. 138.

    Hochfield (2011).

  139. 139.

    Hochfield (2011).

  140. 140.

    Protocol on their joint meeting in Simpson (1997), Appendix 16.

  141. 141.

    Bandle et al. (2012f), Case Auschwitz Suitcase.

  142. 142.

    Bandle et al. (2013).

  143. 143.

    Contel et al. (2012), Case Portrait of Wally.

  144. 144.

    Bandle et al. (2012c), Case Liberation of Saint Peter from Prison.

  145. 145.

    Bandle (2012), pp. 232 et seqq.

  146. 146.

    Lüddemann (2000).

  147. 147.

    Eichwede (2010), p. 391.

  148. 148.

    Lüddemann (2000).

  149. 149.

    State Hermitage Museum Website (2013).

  150. 150.

    Varoli (2000). The reconstruction was, however, not included in the return agreement with Russia.

  151. 151.

    Greenfield (2007), pp. 185 and 188.

  152. 152.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 186.

  153. 153.

    Walter (2003), pp. 105 et seq.

  154. 154.

    Merryman (2006), p. 11.

  155. 155.

    Hiller (1997), p. 180; Shvidkoi (1997), p. 71.

  156. 156.

    Bandle et al. (2012a), Case Baldin Collection.

  157. 157.

    Eichwede (2010), pp. 402 et seq.

  158. 158.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 191.

  159. 159.

    Lowenthal (2004), p. 25.

  160. 160.

    Lowenthal (2004), p. 25.

  161. 161.

    Lowenthal (2004), p. 26.

  162. 162.

    Contel (2012), p. 190.

  163. 163.

    Lowenthal (2004), p. 29.

  164. 164.

    Cornu and Renold (2010), p. 18.

  165. 165.

    Greenfield (2007), p. 191.

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Bandle, A.L., Contel, R. (2014). Reparation Art: Finding Common Ground in the Resolution of Disputes on Russian War Spoils and Nazi-Looted Art. In: Vadi, V., Schneider, H. (eds) Art, Cultural Heritage and the Market. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-45094-5_2

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