The work has an international context, especially as Switzerland participated at the end of June 2009 in the international "Holocaust Era Assets Conference" in Prague and adopted the "Terezin Declaration" together with 46 other nations.
The report is based on a voluntary survey of 551 Swiss museums on the state of provenance research. The Federal Office of Culture of the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) and the Directorate of Political Affairs of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) conducted the survey from July 2008 to October 2010 on behalf of the Federal Council and in cooperation with the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education, the Association of Museums in Switzerland and the Swiss Art Museums Association. The survey resulted in a summary providing a general overview of the current situation.
The report finds that the application of the international declarations in the area of looted art is of considerable importance. Informational and awareness raising measures at all levels, in public and private museums, must be improved. Furthermore the report states that museums need to intensify provenance research. Finally the access to the results of provenance research as well as to relevant archives has to be simplified.
The document also includes the results of the conference in Prague in June 2009. In the run-up to the conference, an interim report presented by the "Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany" ("Claims Conference") from June 2009 pointed out that Switzerland was among those countries that had made substantial progress over the past ten years in the area of looted art during the National Socialist era.
The work must, however, continue in order to ensure the attainment over the long term of just and fair solutions in the area of looted art during the National Socialist era, based on the groundbreaking "Washington Conference Principles" of 1998 and the "Terezin Declaration" of 2009.
The Federal Council mandated the FDHA and the FDFA to continue their efforts in support of dealing with the problem of looted art in a transparent, legal and adequate manner and to release the report for publication.
Address for enquiries:
Jean-Frédéric Jauslin, Director of the Federal Office of Culture
Tel. +41 (0)31 322 92 61
Benno Widmer, Head of the Specialized Body for the International Transfer of Cultural Property and Contact Bureau on Looted Art, Federal Office of Culture
Tel. +41 (0)31 322 03 25