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Germany and the US express joint commitment to step up their efforts to implement Washington Principles

26.11.2018 - Press release

To mark the 20th anniversary of the Washington Conference in December, Monika Grütters, Minister of State and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, and Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, emphasise how important implementing the Washington Principles of 1998 continues to be for both countries.

Minister of State Grütters issued the following statement regarding the signing of a joint declaration with Stuart Eizenstat, Special Adviser for Holocaust Issues at the State Department, and Thomas Yazdgerdi, United States Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues: Twenty years ago, at the initiative of the United States, the Washington Conference was held, at which Germany, the US and 42 other states agreed to conduct research into cultural objects seized as a result of Nazi persecution and to find just and fair solutions. Investigating art theft by the Nazis is a lasting obligation – especially for Germany. Twenty years later, we will not cease to live up to this responsibility.

Minister of State Müntefering issued the following statement:

Germany’s foreign policy is conducted in awareness of the historical responsibility for the unprecedented crimes of National Socialism. It is particularly important to Germany to promote awareness of the Holocaust and to learn lessons from this for our sake and for the sake of future generations. Great efforts are being undertaken in this area, especially in the field of education, which are being supplemented by the new programme entitled „Jugend erinnert“ (Young people remember). Providing compensation for the injustices suffered under the National Socialist regime continues to be an important issue for the Federal Government. Twenty years after the Washington Conference, investigations into Nazi art theft are still ongoing.

From 26 to 28 November, the German Lost Art Foundation, together with the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Kulturstiftung der Länder, will host an international symposium in Berlin entitled “20 Years Washington Principles: Roadmap for the Future” to mark the anniversary of the Washington Conference. The conference is intended to provide an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved and to develop the next steps towards implementing the Washington Principles.

Monika Grütters said the following in this regard:

We will use this conference to initiate further measures to facilitate fair and just solutions for the benefit of the victims and their families. Our joint declaration is an expression of our determination and our will to make further progress possible. We thereby acknowledge what has been achieved so far and reaffirm our resolve to continue to shed light on Nazi art theft.

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