The European Parliament passed a resolution Thursday calling on European Union member states to identify and recover Nazi-looted art and cultural works.
Of about 650,000 pieces of art looted during the war, some 110,000 works are still missing, according to the resolution.
The resolution describes cultural heritage as “one of the basic elements of civilization” and emphasises that restitution of looted cultural property is a “major shared concern that needs to be addressed.” It stresses the importance of provenance research, describing it as an “urgent need” and calls on the European Commission to “protect, support, and encourage cross-border restitution claims.”
“Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, this is a powerful declaration of support by the European Parliament for Holocaust survivors and their families in their decades-long quest for justice from the largest cultural theft in history,” said Gideon Taylor, World Jewish Restitution Organisation chair of Operations. “WJRO has long called for heightened provenance research and removal of the many obstacles that survivors and their families face in recovering what was so wrongfully taken from them.”
The resolution cites the 2016 U.S. Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act, which sets the statute of limitation based on the time the claimant discovered the artwork and his or her interest in it.
The parliament measure passed by a vote of 544-62, with 20 abstentions.