Basic documents

In the download area, you will find documents that are essential for provenance research, Proveana, the Lost Art Database and the work of the German Lost Art Foundation.


The German federal government, federal states and leading municipal associations have published guidelines for the implementation of the Washington Principles and the Common Statement. These offer legally non-binding guidance for independent provenance research on Nazi-looted art in public as well as private museums, collections, libraries and archives. They are intended for persons responsible for handling cultural heritage and those involved in provenance research. Also, anyone with a general interest in the field of cultural goods seized by the National Socialists will find an overview of the subject and further information.

Manual Provenance Research

The Manual Provenance Research for the identification of cultural property that was confiscated during National Socialism rule is a practical tool box for employees of museums, libraries and archives, for arts and antiques dealers and also for private collectors. Anyone who has doubts about the provenance of cultural goods in their own collections—be they paintings, sculptures, books, coins, porcelain, graphic art or silver tableware—will find the needed tools in the guideline: practical tips, case studies as well as important addresses, sources and web addresses.

The manual is a joint effort of the Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung e. V. (Provenance Research Association), the Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung und Restitution—Bibliotheken (Provenance Research and Restitution Association of Libraries), the Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e. V. (German Library Association), the Deutscher Museumsbund e. V. (German Museums Association) and ICOM Deutschland e. V. (ICOM Germany). The authors of the volume have been instrumental in the scientific, methodological and practical development of the field in past years and contribute their profound practical experience on the guideline’s 135 pages.

Overview on Restitution files (German only)

Restitution files (Rückerstattungsakten, also: Wiedergutmachungsakten) are files on proceedings under the Federal Restitution Act (Bundesrückerstattungsgesetz) and document, among other things, the confiscation of cultural property. They can therefore be an important source of information for provenance research and for genealogical research. This inventory provides an overview of the archives in which file holdings from the restitution offices are available. It was compiled by the Bund-Länder Working Group "Wiedergutmachung", which was commissioned by the Federal and State Conference of Archivists between 1998 and 2009 to draw up proposals for the standardized nationwide evaluation, indexing and use of restitution files.