Welchen Stellenwert hat Provenienzforschung zu Kulturgutverlusten in der Sowjetischen Besatzungszone und in der DDR?

Diskussionen, Literatur, Initiativen

  • Mathias Deinert (Autor/in)
  • Katja Lindenau (Autor/in)
  • Carina Merseburger (Autor/in)
  • Annette Müller-Spreitz (Autor/in)
  • Alexander Sachse (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


In 1990 and 1994, laws were passed in order to deal with cultural property losses in the Soviet Occupation Zone (1945-1949) and in the German Democratic Republic (1949-1990). Yet until 2010, there had been little relevant literature and debate on cultural institutions’ unlawful accessions during the Soviet Occupation and GDR period. By summarizing inquiries, declarations, expert opinions, coalition agreements, statements and conference proceedings, the article gives a chronological overview (2010-2022) of political and professional opinion formation on provenance research with regard to cultural property losses between 1945 and 1990. The survey illustrates the lengthy process that led to the funding of historical context research by the German Lost Art Foundation. It points out desiderata and sets goals for the continuation of basic research and for urgently needed project funding – especially object-related provenance research – hopefully encouraging protagonists from politics, culture and the humanities to actively address this pressing issue again. This is not only important for answering main ethical questions in cultural institutions (like museums, libraries, archives, universities) of the former GDR, but seems also to be relevant for provenance research in public collections all over Germany and beyond.

Keywords: Provenance research; Soviet occupation; GDR; reappraisal; Compensation and Equalisation Payments Act; project promotion


Provenance research, Soviet occupation, GDR, reappraisal, Compensation and Equalisation Payments Act, project promotion