Selected Internet Sources*

(November 24, 1999)


Art Loss Register. The Art Loss register is "the largest private database of stolen and missing works of art, antiques, and valuables worldwide" with offices in London, New York, and Dusseldorf and has Web links to auction houses such as Sotheby and Christie's. Their objective is to assist law enforcement agencies in the process of identifying and recovering stolen works of art. Click on "Holocaust Losses" to find information on how Holocaust victims may locate missing or stolen property.

Art Newspaper. Click on "For the Record" at the contents page for "The Art Trade under the Nazis: the not so secret list" from January 1999 issue of The Art Newspaper. It has the complete list of names in the 1946 Office of Strategic Services (OSS) report on the art trade under the Nazis. The World Jewish Congress "revealed" its existence in November 1998, although art historians and scholars had known about the list for years. The art dealers are listed by the following countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). This Web site has information on the London Nazi Gold Conference (December 2-4, 1997); click on "Search" and then type in "Nazi Gold" or go directly to the News Archives. Electronic versions of History Notes No. 11, Nazi Gold: Information from the British Archives, and No. 12, Nazi Gold: Information from the British Archives: Part II, Monetary Gold, Non-Monetary Gold and the Tripartite Gold Commission, are available in full text from this Web site.

Britain in the USA. This Web page on Nazi Gold has links to the FCO, news conferences, transcript of the final report of the Nazi Gold Conference, information on the International Fund for Needy Victims of Nazi Persecution, and a link to the Enemy Property Web site.

Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C.. This is the Web site of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm that successfully sued the two largest Swiss banks and reached a $1.25 billion settlement in August 1998. The site provides access to information on pending litigation regarding slave laborers in Nazi-run factories and concentration camps, and a combined questionnaire for the Swiss banks' settlement, and pending German, Austrian, and French banks' litigation.

Commission for Art Recovery. This is the Web site for the Commission for Art Recovery of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and affiliated with the World Jewish Restitution Organizations (WJRO). This Web site has information on their efforts to locate and identify looted works of art and their cooperation with other organizations such as the Art Loss Register and HARP. Information about members of the commission and how to file a claim is provided.

Holocaust Art Restitution Project (HARP). This Web site is maintained by HARP and the Washington, D.C.-based National Jewish Museum as a clearinghouse for research and documentation of "Jewish cultural losses suffered between 1933 and 1945." Included is information on their research database, projects, publications, recent news articles/press, and highlights from their conference on September 4, 1997.

Holocaust Victims Asset Litigation. This Web page is the official site for Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation against Swiss Banks and other Swiss entities. Included is information on the proposed $1.25 billion settlement of a class action lawsuit against Swiss banks for their conducted during World War II. The deadline for filing comments, objections, or suggestions to the settlement is October 22, 1999. A fairness hearing will be held on November 29, 1999, on whether the proposed settlement should be approved. Note: No claims process or plan of allocation has yet been established.

Independent committee of Eminent Persons ("The Volcker Commission"). This is the official Web site of the Volcker Commission mandated to conduct an investigative audit to determine if there are any dormant accounts belonging to victims of the Holocaust in Swiss banks. The Commission's highly anticipated report of their three-year investigation is due sometime in the Fall 1999. The Committee consists of six member and four alternates, half appointed by the Swiss Bankers Association and half appointed by Jewish organizations. Paul A. Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, serves as the Chairman.

International Commission on Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC). This Web site is the Home Page of the ICHEIC headed by Lawrence S. Eagleburger and includes information on processing a claim, text of meetings, list of participating insurance commissioners, legislation, text of the Memorandum of Understanding, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

National Archives Records and Administration (NARA). Holocaust-Era Assets Records and Research at the NARA Web site lists findings aids to primary documents at the Archives, declassified documents, text of research and symposium papers, and a current bibliography. This Web site also provides information on events such as the NARA symposium, "Records and Research Relating to Holocaust-Era Assets" held on December 4, 1998, in conjunction with the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, November 30-December 3, 1998. Full texts of papers presented at the symposium and Web links to scholarly work on researching looted art and insurance claims is provided.

National Association Insurance Commission (NAIC) Working Group on Holocaust and Insurance Issues. Click on "news releases" and search "Holocaust and claims" at this Web site. The NAIC Web site lists the meetings and related activities by the NAIC on World War II-era life insurance policies of Holocaust victims and their heirs.

Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States (PCHA). This is the official Web site of the PCHA that was established by Public Law 105-186 and tasked with conducting original research into the fate of assets taken from Holocaust victims which later came into the possession of the U.S. government. The Commission's main goal is to provide a historical account of those valuables (art and cultural objects, gold, and other financial property) and to advise the President on future restitution policies. The Commission consists of 21 members. The full text of the Progress Report on: The Mystery of the Hungarian"Gold Train" is available at this Web site.

Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles. At this Web site, click on "International Section" under "More Information" then click on "Holocaust Assets" for information on British, French, and Swiss banks, and insurance accounts as well as the Center's response to the recovery of looted Nazi gold, or access in directly at: [http://www.wiesenthal.com/swiss/index.html].

Swiss Dormant Accounts. This Web site is maintained by the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) and contains the lists of names of dormant account holders from July 23, 1997, and October 29, 1997, and directions on how to file a claim and locate contact information in the United States and abroad.

Swiss Embassy. This Web page, Topic Switzerland & World War II, is maintained by the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C., and provides official links to Swiss government sources like the Swiss Federal Archives, Swiss Federal Assembly, Unclaimed Assets--Registration Office 1962-1999, and additional links to other international sources.

Swiss Federal Assembly (Switzerland's Parliament). This is the official Swiss government Web site on Switzerland and the Second World War. It contains information on the Swiss Foundation for Solidarity, the Independent Commission of Experts ("Bergier Commission"), a chronology of events on Switzerland and World War II, press releases, and an electronic version of the Bergier Commission's report, Switzerland and Gold Transactions in the Second World War: Interim Report of 25 May 1998.

Swiss Solidarity Foundation (a.k.a. Swiss Foundation for Solidarity). In March 1997, Swiss President Arnold Koller advanced the idea of creating a long-term Solidarity Foundation for humanitarian aid at home and abroad. This undertaking, endorsed by the President of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), would be aimed at offering a dignified future to real or potential victims of poverty, hardship, and violence, and would include aid to victims of the Holocaust. The Foundation would support long-term projects, finance emergency aid, and award a Solidarity Prize. Its work would be financed from the proceeds of currently uninvested gold reserves of the National Bank. This financing aspect of the Foundation is scheduled for public referendum in March 2000. This Web site also provides information on its goals and objectives and current news articles on the Foundation.

Swiss Special Task Force. Created by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in October 1996 in response to the controversy regarding Switzerland's role during World War II, it was headed by Special Ambassador Thomas Borer. The Task Force officially disbanded on March 31, 1999. This Web site has links to additional Swiss government sources including the Bergier Commission Interim Report, May 1998, and Assets in Switzerland of Victims of Nazism and the Compensation Agreements with East Bloc Countries by Peter Hug and Marc Perrenoud, 13 December 1996-13 January 1997, and other reports at:
[http://www.switzerland.taskforce.ch/W/TF/1_ei.htm].

Switzerland & Holocaust Assets. Maintained by a Swiss journalist, Bruno Giussani, this Web site is a "one-stop independent resource monitoring the controversy." It has a running chronology of current events, selected electronic publications, and Web links to Swiss, American, British, and other sources worldwide on Switzerland and Holocaust-era assets.

U.S. Department of State Holocaust Assets Home Page. This Web site offers official remarks, testimony, briefings, press releases, fact sheets, and highlights from the Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets (November 30-December 3, 1998). It also has electronic versions of the two reports: Preliminary Study on U.S. and Allied Efforts to Recover and Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During World War II (Includes Finding Aids to Records at the National Archives), May 1997; and U.S. and Allied Wartime and Postwar Relations and Negotiations with Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey on Looted Gold and German External Assets and U.S. Concerns About the Fate of the Wartime Ustasha Treasury, June 1998. It also includes Internet links to the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Archives and an electronic version of the Proceedings of the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, November 30-December 3,1998, released on May 30, 1999.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (Holocaust Victims' Assets). This Web site contains an International List of Current Activities Regarding Holocaust-era Assets and is a project of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in conjunction with the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets (November 30- December 3, 1998). It allows searching by types of assets (dormant bank accounts, insurance, gold, art, etc.) and by country, government, and private attempts to trace Holocaust assets. A list of archival resources is provided along with a list of U.S. activities regarding Holocaust-era assets. Information for Holocaust survivors and others seeking reparations is included along with information on the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research. The Proceedings from the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets is available full text and links to the National Archives, the U.S. Department of State, and other Web sources are also provided.

U.S. House Committee on Banking and Financial Services for committee hearings and press releases.

U.S. House International Relations Committee (HIRC). Click on "press releases" for the 105th Congress for a listing of the HIRC activities regarding Holocaust-era assets. Also under "Meetings and Hearings," click on "105th Congress, second session" for a transcript of the full committee hearing, "Heirless Property Issues of the Holocaust" on August 6, 1998.

U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee for committee hearings and press releases.

World Jewish Congress (WJC). At the Home Page, click on "Policy Dispatches" for brief and timely analyzes of immediate concern. Full text of the following are available:

  • Dispatch No. 27, "Insurers Face the Past: Another Component of the European Jewish Legacy Is Reclaimed," April 1998.

  • Dispatch No. 16, "New Perspectives on Swiss 'Neutrality' and Banking Secrecy," September 1996.

  • Dispatch No. 10, "Unfreezing the Swiss Bank Accounts of Holocaust Victims,"September 1995.

  • Dispatch No. 8, "Restitution of Jewish Property in Central and Eastern Europe," April 1995.

Click on "Policy Forum" for In-depth examination of current topics by noted authorities and researchers:

  • Policy Forum No. 16, "The Great Culture Robbery: The Plunder of Jewish-Owned Art," by Hector Feliciano.

  • Policy Forum No. 13, "And It All But Disappeared": The Nazi Seizure of Jewish Assets," by Sidney Zabludoff.

  • Policy Forum No. 12, "Coming to Terms with the Past: the Process of Restitution of Jewish Property in Norway," by Bjorn Westlie.

Click on "Policy Studies" index for a comprehensive examination of topics in Jewish affairs. Full text of the following are available:

  • Sweden and the Shoah: The Untold Chapters by Sven Fredrik Hedin and Goran Elgemyr.

  • Movements of Nazi Gold: Uncovering the Trail by Sidney Zabludoff.

  • Unmasking National Myths: Europeans Challenge Their History by Avi Beker.

  • The Fate of Stolen Jewish Properties: The Cases of Austria and the Netherlands by Itamar Levine.

  • Righting an Historic Wrong: Restitution of Jewish Property in Central and East Europe by Laurence Weinbaum, December 1994. (2nd ed., May 1995)


*Prepared by Barbara A. Salazar, Information Research Specialist, Information Research Division.


Source: Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress for the U.S. House International Relations Committee.