Israel and Germany have agreed to conduct joint research in museums in both countries aimed at determining the original
ownership of Jewish-owned art looted by the genocidal Nazi regime, officials said.
Under an agreement signed Sunday by Culture Ministry Director General Orly Froman and German Culture Minister Monika Gruetters, art experts from the two countries will undergo training and coordinate the formation of joint data bases.
"The cooperation between German and Israeli institutions on provenance research of Nazi-confiscated art and Judaica is a great vote of confidence," Gruetters said in a statement.
Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat (Likud) said the agreement could lead to the restitution of art stolen by Nazis to the Jewish heirs, a statement from her ministry read.
Livnat noted the ongoing cooperation between Israel and Germany on Nazi-era art provenance, including the presence of two Israeli curators in a German committee dealing with the collection found in the Munich flat of Cornelius Gurlitt.
Gurlitt, who died last month at 81, was the son of a Nazi-era art dealer who hoarded hundreds of paintings valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.
Prior to his death he had struck a deal with German authorities to help track down the rightful owners of the 1,280 artworks, including Jews whose property was stolen or extorted under the Third Reich.
At least one work, Matisse's "Seated Woman," was announced last Wednesday as having been stolen by the Nazi regime from Jewish Paris-based art dealer Paul Rosenberg.