Gert Wolheim, Portrait of Tatiana Barbakoff
Introducing: The Israel Museum
From the time it came to power in 1933 through the end of World War II in 1945, the Nazi regime systematically looted works of art and other cultural property in Europe on a massive and unprecedented scale. Hundreds of thousands of such objects were unlawfully and often forcibly taken from their rightful owners, including Holocaust victims, public and private museums and galleries, and religious, educational, and other institutions. After the war, the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization (JRSO) and the Jewish Cultural Reconstruction (JCR) were created to represent Jewish constituencies from Europe, the USA, and the Jewish community in the land of Israel and to distribute heirless and unclaimed property. Prior to the Israel Museum's incorporation, its predecessor institution -- the Bezalel National Museum -- received from these organizations the works of art listed below, which are now under the Museum's custodianship. Much of this material, especially objects of Jewish ceremonial use, came from institutions and synagogues that did not survive the War. The information included in this inventory is complete to the extent that is currently possible and continues to be updated on an ongoing basis. We hope that this site will assist in the Museum's continuing efforts to restore objects from these holdings to their legal owners.