Posts tagged ‘Germany’


‘There are customers for everything [Für alles gebe es Kunden]’ from Syria and Iraq

In a documentary next week, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR)/Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (ARD) will explain ‘how looted Syrian antiquities are sold in Germany [Wie syrische Raubkunst in Deutschland verkauft wird]’. It looks like it will hit a range of key points.

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A gang in Germany robbed assets from churches and schools to fund jihad in Syria

Yet another reason for quietness on the blog is that my computer is broken, but I just saw this story via Money Jihad and wanted to highlight it, not because it is evidence of significant trafficking of antiquities to finance the civil war in Syria, but because it is evidence of insignificant trafficking. As with the evidence of looting-to-order, it is important to remember that conflict antiquities trafficking involves petty theft as well as grand larceny, burglaries by fundraisers outside as well as plunder by combatants in the war zone.

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How the West buys ‘conflict antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria (and funds terror)

Reuters have just published my analysis and opinion piece on how the West buys ‘conflict antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria (and funds terror), where I explain how the antiquities market, antiquities trafficking and cultural destruction are interlinked, how paramilitary profits from looting and smuggling underwrite the cost of war, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

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Greece: Nazi antiquities looting and austerity politics

I tend not to discuss historical cases of illicit excavation or illicit possession of antiquities because, almost by definition, they are not urgent. Also, almost inevitably, they have been severely politicised (and pushed into public consciousness through their politicisation); it can be difficult to discuss them without spreading at least part of the underlying political message. One such example is the Nazis’ theft and looting of artworks and artefacts from Greece.

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Asia Week auction, WTF20: Cambodia – a bronze Khmer Siva from ‘an old German collection’. How old? Who knows?

Buddhist Art also has a bronze, Bayon-period Khmer Siva ‘[f]rom an old German collection’.

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Cyprus: return of tens of millions’ worth of conflict antiquities, looted from churches in occupied areas

In 1997, Munich police found 232 artworks (1) in the possession of Turkish antiquities smuggler Aydın Dikmen. Munich’s Higher Regional Court has ruled to return 172 or 173 pieces (2), tens of millions’ worth (3) of mosaics, frescoes, icons, paintings, manuscripts and other objects of art (Fresken, Ikonen und andere Kunstgegenstände) to the Republic of Cyprus and the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the Syriac Maronite Church and the Armenian Catholic Church (via @rechtsarche).

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Germany’s return of conflict antiquities to Kosovo: unanswered questions

I have updated my review of Germany’s return of conflict antiquities to Kosovo, but there hasn’t been much to update; the details of the antiquities looting-and-smuggling and the murder are still either unknown or being withheld. In order to reduce cultural property crime, we need to know not only who did it but how they did it (or intended to do it). I think there are four key questions: Why is so little information known? Who were the illicit possessors of the antiquities? How did the criminals conduct the operation? How were they caught?

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Germany’s return of conflict antiquities to Kosovo – looting and murder details unknown and withheld

German police have returned seven conflict antiquities to Kosovo. Many of the details of the case are unknown, even to the German police, but others are being withheld. [I think I’ve identified the key unanswered questions in a follow-up post.]

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