City of Vienna Searching for Former Owners of Confiscated Art in Israel

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (02/27/2006)

Appeals made by the Austrian Embassy for relevant leads from the people

Tel Aviv - The city of Vienna is turning its search to Israel for former owners of art and cultural objects confiscated during the NS era. In an appeal made by the Austrian Embassy in Tel Aviv, people are being asked to help by offering leads relevant to the search. The statement reads: It is an important matter for the City of Vienna that art objects which were removed and currently continue to be the property of the City, be returned in rem to their legitimate owners.

In the appeal, reference is made to the decision on restitution concluded by the Vienna City Council on April 29, 1999, and to the website of the Museum of the City of Vienna which lists 1,545 objects acquired by the Dorotheum, 550 objects from art dealers, twelve public donations and 212 acquisitions and donations from Julius Fargel, who at the time was art restorer for the City’s collections as well as chief appraiser for the paintings in the Vugesta (the Gestapo Office for the Disposal of the Property of Jewish Emigrants). The owners of these objects at the time of the takeover in Austria by the NS in March 1938 have not yet been identified beyond doubt. According to the appeal, these lists were last updated on July 1, 2005.

Those art objects, whose original owners could no longer be determined, will be transferred to the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, and will be utilized to the benefit of the victims of the NS regime, said the appeal. This usage, serving as restitution to NS victims, represents, however, only the ultima ratio of restitution efforts. Leads as to the objects and to their former owners and current-day claimants should be directed to Peter Eppel, appointed representative for restitution of the Museum of the City of Vienna at:

Website of the Museum of the City of Vienna: