The Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Moravian Museum have launched and constantly update a database (accessible at www.restitution-art.cz of the works of art, the property of the Czech Republic, that used to belong or might have belonged to Holocaust victims. The database should mainly serve the original owners, their offspring and their surviving spouses so that they can apply for the restitution of these works of art, seized during the time of the Holocaust and never returned to the original owners, later stolen again by the communist régime. Except for the state collections, these works of art can also be found in the collection of the Prague Jewish Museum. Access www.jewishmuseum.cz.
The very fact that a work of art has been included in the database does not mean that it will be automatically returned to anybody who claims ownership. The claimant has to prove his or her legitimacy conclusively, according to Act No. 212/2000 Coll. on the alleviation of certain property injustices caused by the Holocaust and on the change of Act No. 243/1992 Coll., modifying certain issues relating to Act No. 229/1991 Coll., on the modification of proprietary relations to the land and other agricultural property, in the wording of Act No. 93/1992 Coll., in the wording of later regulations. The above-mentioned Act, whose full wording is to be found on the separate page, allows the restitution of the works of art from the property of state to physical entities, their spouses or their offspring, under the condition that the work had been purloined as a consequence of the transfer or transition of property rights between 29 September 1938 and 4 May 1945, such transfers or transitions having been declared invalid by the President of the Republic Decree No. 5/1945 Coll., or by Act No. 128/1946 Coll.
The name and address of the organisation administering the respective property are given for each work of art included in the database. The original owners, the surviving spouse or their offspring should address their requests for the return of property to the organisation administering the particular work of art. If there is awareness of further objects of cultural value not included in the database and administered by state institutions, the above-mentioned Act allows adopting the same procedure. Disputes that may arise from the exercise of claims shall be decided by tribunals in the Czech Republic.
The Ministry of Culture has published these works of art from the state collections to help the applicants and with all due respect to the original owners – Holocaust victims – and to their offspring. The Documentation Centre for Property Transfers of Cultural Assets of WW II Victims' was founded by the Czech Government under the auspices of the Academy of Sciences on November 1st, 2001 The Centre was transformed into a charitable trust in 2012 (www.cdmp.cz), by its founder, the Ministry of Culture. The Centre mainly carries out heuristic research related to property transfers in the Czech and foreign archives, and it also helps the applicants to search for further works of art that belonged to Holocaust victims.