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Nazi art restitution bill likely to become law

Andrew Dismore’s bill [1] to allow the return of items looted during the holocaust now looks as though it is likely to become law. I would question though whether the problem it deals with is the loophole that it is described as here – to my mind it was very deliberately created part of the regulations governing many museums – although now some of its side effects are becoming less palatable to the public.

From:
Artinfo [2]

House of Commons OKs Restitution Bill on Nazi-Looted Art
Published: June 29, 2009

LONDON—A British bill that, at least in theory, would help return artworks looted by the Nazis to their rightful owners has cleared the House of Commons and now goes to the House of Lords. Members of Parliament in the House say the measure is largely symbolic and may never be used, but they believe it still sends an important signal about correcting an injustice.

Andrew Dismore’s Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Bill will plug a legal loophole preventing restitution in some cases. The bill covers such institutions as the British Museum and the Imperial War Museum, and it allows the Spoliation Advisory Panel to assess whether a work of art was looted and then recommend to the culture secretary if it should be returned. According to Dismore, a Labour Member of Parliament, the best estimate is that there are about 20 looted items in U.K. museums, although there could be more.