March 15, 2007

Should Russia return seized German artefacts?

Posted at 11:16 am in Similar cases

A reminder, that the Nazis weren’t the only ones involved in looting during the Second World War.

From:
Deutsche Welle (Germany)

Art | 14.03.2007
Readers Say Russia Should Return Seized Artifacts to Germany

Pieces of art seized from German museums by Soviet soldiers in 1945 are now on display at a Moscow exhibition. The ownership of the artifacts has been disputed since the war. Readers advocated this week for their return.

The following comments reflect the views of our readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

If Russian law defines these objects as “compensation,” then Russian law is wrong. Historic artifacts like these should be kept in museums close to where they originated, not treated as “trophies.” In the UK, we have had a similar argument all my life (I’m 55) about the “Elgin Marbles,” taken from Greece in the 19th century by Lord Elgin and more properly known there as the Parthenon Marbles. Surely, with our sophisticated technological abilities these days, we could make very good copies of all these disputed objects which could travel around the world for display, while the originals remained where they belong. — Steve Cook, UK

They should be returned to their rightful owner, which is the Federal Republic of Germany. When artifacts are found that were stolen by the Nazis they are always returned to the original owner. — Ernst Stetz

If Germany has to return stolen treasures, the same concept has to apply to the other powers with respect to Germany. It’s the same thing with World War II victims. There aren’t good and bad victims, but only victims. If this concept were completely accepted, maybe we would have a better Europe. — Guido Giulio Boarelli

These looted artifacts should, of course, be returned. Remember, the Grimm brothers worked to return stolen artifacts from France after the Napoleonic wars. — Geir Helgen

The objects should be returned to Germany. International law is clear and precise about this kind of booty. — Dan

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