Frequently asked questions
What is restitution?
The return of something to its owner, or to the person entitled to it.
What kind of property is the Foundation seeking to restitute?
We are interested in cultural property - works of art, books, archival documents and manuscripts, artifacts, musical instruments, museum collections, and religious objects – stolen or removed from the theater during WWII and not yet restituted to their proper owner.
Will there be any cost to me to return an item?
No. We do not charge a fee for our restitution services. The Foundation is an IRS-approved, not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) entity.
Will I receive a reward or compensation?
Is it illegal to sell an object I believe may be stolen?
Am I going to get in trouble if I contact the Foundation?
No. The Foundation is not a law-enforcement agency and, as a result, can only deal with voluntarily submissions of cultural objects to be returned. The Foundation cannot and will not initiate prosecution against any party that comes forward with information. We are a private organization whose interests are in returning cultural property. We believe in the importance of our mission and if requested or necessary, are willing to elaborate on the merits of coming forward to any individual who may have reservations in doing so.
May I contact the Foundation anonymously?
Yes. To report looted cultural property please call 1-866-WWII-ART, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does the Foundation provide research assistance?
Please email the Foundation at email@example.com. All requests will be acknowledged and processed in the order in which they are received.
Do you have a list of all of the Monuments Men and Women?
Yes, please see our list here.
I believe my relative was a Monuments Man/Woman, what should I do?
Please contact us with as much information as you have regarding your relative, including their military service. Photos are also helpful.
What if I have a German weapon/ helmet/ medal?
These items are not considered cultural property, but war memorabilia, and do not require restitution.
What if I have Nazi propaganda material?
These items are also not considered cultural property.
Does the Foundation offer appraisal services?
No. The IRS would consider this activity a conflict of interest if performed by a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) entity.
What if I want to learn more about Robert Edsel’s books?
Please visit http://www.robertedsel.com/books for more information.
How do I book Robert Edsel for a speaking engagement?
Please visit https://www.robertedsel.com/events for information.
How can I get involved with the Foundation?
Is there a list of every stolen artwork from WWII?
Several countries in Europe have created their own database of cultural objects gone missing as result of WWII, however, there is no single, comprehensive list of every looted artwork and cultural object. Our researchers examine records from many sources to determine whether a particular work might have been looted.
I want to return a piece of art. What information should I have prepared when first contacting the Foundation?
The Foundation strives to begin the process of examining each received art tip as quickly as possible, but our team requires as much information as possible from those who contact us to proceed with searching. In order for us to handle your case more efficiently, please include any known information on the work's dimensions, title, artist, date, and how it was acquired. If a military veteran was involved in the acquisition, please mention their rank of service, unit, and any additional information that might be helpful. If possible, please send clear, high-resolution photos of the artwork from all angles—including the reverse side—and close-ups of any unusual details or markings.