Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act Signed into U.S. Law

On Friday, December 16, 2016, President Barack Obama signed into law the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act to aid recovery of Nazi-looted art.

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), through the Report Concerning Approaches of United States Museums to Holocaust-Era Art Claims it issued in 2015 as well as advocacy over the years by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) and the WJRO played an important role in this effort.

About the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act

The Holocaust Era Art Recovery Act (HEAR Act) provides victims of Nazi-era persecution and their heirs a fair and just opportunity to recover art stolen from them. The HEAR Act is consistent with longstanding U.S. policy and commitments. These include the Washington principles, which called for nations to develop national processes to deal with dispute resolution. This bill will enable that commitment to be upheld in the United States.

What the HEAR Act does
  • The act ensures that claims to Nazi-confiscated art are not unfairly barred by statues of limitations, and instead are resolved on their merits.
  • The act creates a uniform six-year statute of limitations for cases involving artwork lost because of persecution during the Nazi era.
  • The act expands the discovery to include both the identity and location of the art, as well as sufficient information to indicate a possible claim can be made.
  • The act includes any previous cases that were dismissed based on the expiration of the statute of limitations and where a final judgment has not been entered and where those cases were previously barred by State law.
  • The statute of limitation changes end on December 31, 2026

Read the full text of the law

U.S. House of Representatives Co-Sponsors

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

Statements from House Co-Sponsors

Nadler and Goodlatte Praise House Passage of Bill to Recover Art Stolen During the Holocaust, December 7, 2016

Congressman Nadler Statement Supporting Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act, December 8, 2016

U.S. Senate Co-Sponsors

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)

Statement from Senate Co-Sponsors

Sens. Cruz, Cornyn Praise Unanimous Passage of the Bipartisan HEAR Act, December 10, 2016


Ronald Lauder Testimony

Helen Mirren Testimony

Monica Dugot Testimony

Simon Goodman Testimony

Agnes Peresztegi Testimony

Letters of Support

World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) Letter of Support

World Jewish Congress (WJC) Letter of Support

B’nai B’rith Letter of Support

American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai B’rith, Commission for Art Recovery (CAR), World Jewish Congress (WJC) and World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) Letter of Support

Media Coverage of the HEAR Act