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Germany's Art Restored

Although restitution of looted cultural property has asserted itself as the most urgent problem confronting the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section, it has by no means been the sole problem. It is the responsibility of Military Government agencies in Germany to insure the preservation of Germany's cultural heritage to the fullest extent compatible with military requirements, and the performance of this mission has made additional demands upon MFA&A.

This German phase of the problem is in some ways more difficult than the mere restitution of looted property. Properly qualified German personnel are scattered and not always easily found, and German cultural institutions cannot assert a strong claim to high priorities in the allocation of the funds and building materials necessary for prompt reconstruction. The necessity of effecting “first aid" repairs to damaged structures throughout Germany, of supervising the reconstitution of civil administration for cultural agencies, and of assistance in the reconstitution of numerous museums and other cutlural institutions, held a high place in the mission of MFA&A. More important is the absolute necessity of preventing damage to cultural material for which no secure accommodations existed at the end of hostilities. Local provision for such needs has been made where possible; but during the latter part of 1945 it was thought necessary to ship 202 paintings, almost all from the collection of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin, to the United States, where they are held in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. in trust for their rightful owners, until conditions permit their return to Germany. The more significant long-range program of German reconstruction has been retarded by the vast and time-consuming task of restitution, but will, in the coming months, play the leading role in the MFA&A responsibilities for the occupation and reconstruction of Germany.

The mission of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section has thus far been completed; the location, inspection and assumption of control of nearly one thousand separate repositories of cultural objects and the evacuation of these to central collecting points; the insured preservation in these central collecting points of the cultural objects, valued well in excess of two billion dollars; the effected restitution of many of Europe's most treasured cultural possessions (more than 20,000 items, estimated value of $103,750,000); the inspection and when necessary the "first aid" repairs to more than five hundred historic and artistic monuments; and the supervision of the reconstitution of civil administration for cultural agencies, art museums and other similar institutions.

Reparations, Deliveries and Restitution Directorate


addition to providing the personnel for the US element of the Economic Directorate, the Economic Division of OMGUS also furnishes the U. S. delegation to the Reparations, Deliveries and Restitution Directorate of the Allied Control Authority. Thus, although the two Directorates themselves are on an equal footing under the Control Council, the personnel for this delegation is drawn from the Restitution Branch of the Economics Division. Also, the two Directorates have their own Secretariats.

As in the case of all the Directorates, this one was formed under the provisions of the Potsdam Protocol to handle one of the major functions set up under that document, namely, reparations. Restitution, as a function, is not specifically referred to in the Protocol. However, it had been the subject of formal discussion and formal agreement as far back as the London Declaration of 5 June 1943, and was also discussed at the July, 1945, Allied Commission on Reparations which was held in Moscow. As a result, the function of restitution was added to that of reparations at the time the Directorate was formed.

One of the first problems taken up by the Directorate after it had submitted recommendations on its terms of reference was the question of a definition of restitution. Having agreed on a definition which was subsequently approved by the Coordinating Committee and the Allied Control Council, the Directorate then, through its Restitution Procedures Committee, developed quadripartite procedures for the handling of restitution matters in all four of the occupied Zones of Germany. At the same time, the Reparations Procedures Committee of the Directorate formulated similar procedures for the handling of reparations problems. Questions of art objects, archives and similar cultural objects were discussed by a Working Party on Cultural Affairs, after which the development of procedures for the preservation and restitution of such items was handled by the Restitution Procedures Committee.

With the establishment of the Inter-Allied Reparations Agency, which is composed of representatives of 18 Western Nations entitled to reparations (a), the Coordinating Committee designated the Secretariat of the Reparations, Deliveries and Restitution Directorate as the official channel of communication between the Allied Control Authority and the liaison personnel of the InterAllied Reparations Agency. In the Reparations Field the Directorate, through its Reparations Valuation Committee, checks and passes upon the plant evaluation received from the three Western Zones. These valuations of reparations plants are then reviewed by the Directorate, after which they are sent to the Economic Directorate. At the same time, valuations and plant descriptions are forwarded by the Directorate to the USSR and to the Inter-Allied Reparations Agency.

The Directorate is also responsible for the preparation of quadripartite procedures having to do with the preservation and restoration of historic monuments.

As part of its activity the Directorate maintains close liaison with the Economic Directorate, with the Transport Directorate in matters of shipping and of rolling stock, and with the Finance Directorate in matters of property control and "internal” restitution. The Directorate does not, however, handle matters of “internal” restitution, which may be defined, roughly, as restitution of property akent by Germans.


(a): NOTE The preamble to the Final Act of the Paris Conference on Reparation which met from 9 November 1945 to 21 December 1945 reads as follows:

“The Governments of Albania, The United States of America, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Greece, India, Luxembourg, Norway, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, the Union of South Africa and Yugoslavia, in order to obtain an equitable distribution among themselves of the total assets which, in accordance with the Provisions of this Agreement and the Provisions agreed upon at Potsdam on 1 August 1945 between the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, are or may be declared to be available as reparations from Germany (hereinafter referred to as German reparation), in order to establish an Inter-Allied Reparation Agency, and to settle an equitable procedure for the restitution of monetary gold,

Have agreed as follows ..."

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On July 5th, 1945, I. G. Farben, the largest chemical firm in the world,

Germany's major producer of war materials, builder and manager of most of the explosives and poison gas plants which fed the Hitler war machine, known the world over as “a state within a state”, ceased to exist in the U. S. Zone of Occupation.

On that date United States Army officers seized and took over the management of 42 major manufacturing plants, 56 sales offices and 26 miscellaneous installations, all of them in the U. S. Zone and representing approximately ten percent of the vast I. G. Farben empire in Germany. Parallel action was taken in the other three Zones on different dates, and was confirmed by the passage of Allied Control Council Law No. 9.

Because overall war damage to these plants in the U. S. Zone was only 14 percent, the plants together with their installations constituted a powerful industrial and anti-democratic force with a high war potential. It became the

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