The Jewish Digital Cultural Recovery Project (JDCRP) has been founded by the Commission for Art Recovery and the Claims Conference/WJRO. The main goal of the project is to construct a comprehensive object-level database of Jewish-owned cultural assets plundered by the Nazis and their allies and collaborators from 1933 to 1945.
With its expansion, the Database is on track to become the comprehensive listing of all Jewish-owned cultural objects plundered by the Nazis and their allies, from the time of their spoliation to the present day, pursuant to a resolution of the European Parliament and the 1998 Washington Conference Principles.
The Jewish Digital Cultural Recovery Foundation (JDCRP Stiftung) was established under German law to accept funds for the Project. Ruediger Mahlo, Representative of the CC in Germany, is Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Wesley Fisher represents the Executive Board.
In December 2019, the European Commission approved the Pilot Project that was proposed for the JDCRP. The budget for the first 18 months of the Pilot Project is 490,000 Euros with the possibility of an extension for the same additional amount of time and funding.
At the present time, the following 15 institutions have agreed formally to be partners and discussions are proceeding with others:
Archives Nationales, France
Belgian State Archives
Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, France
Commission pour l’indemnisation des victims de spoliation (CIVS), France
Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste, Germany
Getty Research Institute
Institut nationale d’histoire de l’art (INHA), France
Kommission für Provenienzforschung, Austria
Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, France
Ministère de la Culture (France) Service interministériel des Archives de France
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Germany
Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah
Expertisecentrum Restitutie, NIOD – Instituut voor oorlogs-, holocaust-en genocidestudies
Moreover, three advisory groups have been created for the Pilot Project (in archives, digital technology, and art history) consisting of major figures in their fields. Most come from the partner organizations, but others do not.
The JDCRP Pilot Project entitled The Fate of the Adolphe Schloss Collection is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and began as of January 1, 2020. It serves as the platform that will enable the JDCRP to test the feasibility of a comprehensive database of looted objects of art through one private art collection looted by the National Socialists and their collaborators in 1943, in France. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, it was possible during the first half-year to amass scans of thousands of documents, as well as photographs of all the artworks, and to begin the discussions of the digitization workflow. The focus at present is on the reopened archives in Western Europe where we are currently gathering historical and art historical documents on this one collection: in France, in Germany, in the Netherlands, and also in the United States. Along with analyzing the methodological framework of archival research, an advanced digital platform (database and website) is being explored and developed to potentially house the collection material and to visualize the trajectory of the objects of art from the looted Schloss collection.
In view of the devastating spread of Covid-19 and the guidance guidelines of the World Health Organization, public announcement of the launch of the Pilot Project and the support of the EU was delayed by agreement between the EU, the JDCRP, and the CC-WJRO but is expected to take place in the fall of 2020. There should be no delay in the progress of the Pilot Project as such, however, since a significant number of images of documents and photographs have already been amassed with which to begin creating a model of the database and of the website. In addition to the public announcement, we have delayed initiating further fundraising, which will now have to begin in a major way.
The EU would like to see the JDCRP expanded to encompass the rest of Europe. The creation of a comprehensive object-level archivally-rooted database of everything plundered by the Nazis, their allies, and collaborators promises to be of great importance to claimants and the art world. Spinoff related projects are under discussion such as encyclopedic information on Jewish artists who perished and their artworks.
Jewish Digital Cultural Recovery Project
c/o Schwenke Schütz