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Course Description

This five-hour, low participant-to-instructor ratio course will provide an overview of the breadth of Nazi-sponsored thefts of Jewish-owned cultural assets from January 1933 to May 1945.

The cultural plunder of Jewish-owned collections of artistic and cultural objects was a centrepiece of Nazi anti-Jewish policies aimed at eradicating Jewish communities from the face of the earth. And yet this key aspect of National Socialist behaviour towards Jews has been sidelined, ignored, and otherwise marginalised in postwar historiographical treatments of the Nazi era to such an extent that laypeople and specialists alike still do not apprehend its breadth and scope and the ensuing carnage that the Nazis unleashed against culture and the arts.

 

During the course participants will:

➣ Sort out and clarify the main ingredients of Nazi plunder and its consequences on the postwar world and the international art market.
➣ Contemplate the Holocaust, restitution, and justice within a wide comparative frame.
➣ Learn how the looting of Jewish property was a key part of the Holocaust which served as a mechanism of persecution.
➣ Come to see the history of looting and restitution as an ongoing process that continues today.
➣ Explore why restitutions are the exception rather than the rule.

 

Course Instructor

Marc Masurovsky is a trained historian who has specialised since 1980 on Nazi war crimes, the economics of genocide, and, more specifically, cultural plunder during the Third Reich (1933-1945) and its post-WWII consequences on the global art market, the politics and economics of restitution and repatriation to rightful owners. He has organised and taught specialised workshops on how to conduct research into the complex history of these objects and the forces that shaped their story.

What we will explore

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The methods used to deprive Jewish owners of their property.

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How the art market reacted to and abetted the illegal removal and dispersal of looted Jewish cultural assets.

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Some of the legal and ethical debates surrounding restitution.

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How guidelines established 20 years ago in order to return looted works to their rightful owners have fallen short.

How People Are Reacting

I took this online course as an introduction to the topic when the COVID pandemic prevented me from attending ARCA’s PG Cert program in Italy. The course gave me an exciting baseline introduction and I look forward to taking their summer professional training program next year.
Sarah Scott

As a university student taking courses in organized crime and terrorism, I wanted to understand better how art intersects with these more well known types of criminal behaviors. Professor Tijhuis and Professor Albertson gave me an excellent overview and I look forward to seeing what other courses on the subject ARCA develops.
Luis Rodriguez