New Berlin-based “Help Desk” for Enquiries about Cultural Assets Seized in the National Socialist Era
German Lost Art Foundation establishes point of contact in Berlin. Art historian Dr Susanne Meyer-Abich was appointed director
Since the beginning of January there is a central point of contact in Berlin for enquiries from those whose cultural assets were seized as a result of persecution under the National Socialist regime, and their descendants. This “Help Desk” is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters states: “Many potential restitution cases are highly complex even with regard to content. In order to facilitate orientation for victims of National Socialist persecution and their descendants, who often live abroad, and to provide contact names, an experienced art historian is now available in the Berlin advisory office. Those who experienced unimaginable suffering at the hands of Germans, either themselves or their ancestors, should not face bureaucratic hurdles but be given assistance.”
Gilbert Lupfer, academic director on the Board of the German Lost Art Foundation, says: “Victims of National Socialist looting of cultural assets and their descendants have for some time asked for more substantial expert advice to assist with their search for their families’ cultural assets, to identify competent contact persons and to enable a dialogue at eye level with museums, libraries and authorities in Germany. We are delighted to have found a new colleague in Susanne Meyer-Abich, who will certainly bring her long-term international experience and communication competence to this important and sensitive task.”
This is especially relevant, Professor Lupfer added, for those who do not live in Germany, do not speak German and are not familiar with the practices of German cultural federalism. “The new role of a trusted point of contact in Berlin was precisely designed to fill this gap and to provide initial assistance and support for those concerned.”