Monika Grütters

Germany Appoints First Jewish Members to Its Limbach Commission for Nazi-Looted Art

As promised, German culture minister Monika Grütters has appointed the first Jewish members of its Limbach Commission—a restitution panel established in 2003 to mediate ownership disputes over art seized by the Nazis––Catherine Hickley of the Art Newspaper reports.

As previously reported, Grütters announced plans to reform the panel and to add Jewish members in August after she met with Ronald Lauder, the founder of the Commission for Art Recovery and a champion of art restitution. She said that the panel originally decided against electing Jewish members due to concerns that they would be prejudiced.

Three new members will join the commission, two of which are Jewish. The appointments include Gary Smith, former director of the American Academy in Berlin; Raphael Gross, the director of the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture in Leipzig; and Marion Eckertz-Höfer, the former president of the Federal Administrative Court.

Moving forward, the commission will also limit members’ terms to ten years, publish the panel’s reasoning behind its rulings in dispute claims, and produce provenance reports. Grütters said these changes will ensure the panel “can continue to carry out a task that everyone recognizes as sensitive and difficult.” She added, “I expect all German museums without exception to be willing to subject disputes to the Advisory Commission as a matter of course.”