Provenance Research, Memory Culture, and the Futurity of Archives: Three Essential Resources for Researching the Nazi Past
The rising significance of Holocaust commemoration has advanced provenance research of Nazi-looted material Jewish heritage and has shown the urgent need for reliable resources in order to cope with the particular challenges of identifying Judaica objects. This review essay examines the theoretical foundations of provenance research in Germany and presents two indispensalbe resources that help with practical provenance research. The Lost Art Database, maintained by the Lost Art Foundation, documents cultural assets beeing illegaly confiscated by the Nazis. The Handbook on Judaica Provenance Research: Ceremonial Object, an open access electronic publication, funded by Claims Conference and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), provides detailed information to identify Jewish cultural objects. The theoretical framework of memory culture in Germany is explored in the book by Dora Osborne, What Remains: The Post-Holocaust Archive in German Memory Culture. In this oustanding analysis of the functions of archives in the process of coming to terms with the Nazi past, Osborne rightly emphasizes the archival turn in German memory culture and proves its importance.
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