Art, Art History and Design, School of


Date of this Version



Published online in H-German, H-Net Reviews. December, 2009. URL:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


The return of "cultural treasures" stolen by the National Socialists is the subject of a burgeoning field in print and film; Michael J. Kurtz's book of 1985 is here revised and updated to include the events of recent decades: the end of the Soviet Union and a divided Germany, along with the reemergence of looted art and lawsuits seeking to reclaim it. As Kurtz states in his introduction, "cultural restitution is an ongoing phenomenon" (p. x). This situation is all too clear from Kurtz's book and parallel developments in the last few years. This extremely rich work continues to be of value to specialist readers, but non-specialists might find the book occasionally dense enough to make it difficult going. .. These very minor reservations aside, this book makes an excellent contribution to the literature on art theft in World War II. It will be required reading for anyone interested in art restitution.