Masterpieces and Moral Justice: Who is Heir to Plundered Art?
Douglas Davidson became Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues in 2010, responsible for developing and implementing U.S. policy pertaining to the return of Holocaust-era assets to their rightful owners, compensation for wrongs committed during the Holocaust, and Holocaust remembrance. From 2004 to 2008 Davidson was head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Immediately prior to that, Davidson was Deputy U.S. Representative to the OSCE in Vienna. His other overseas diplomatic assignments have included Kosovo in the immediate aftermath of its most recent conflict; Zagreb and Belgrade from the end of the war in the former Yugoslavia to the eve of the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia; and Peshawar in the early 1980s during the Soviet-Afghan war. From late 1989 until early 1993 he was an assistant press secretary for foreign affairs at the White House.
Wesley Fisher is Director of Research for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. In addition to assisting the various compensation and restitution programs of the Claims Conference, he is responsible for the Claims Conference/World Jewish Restitution Organization Looted Art and Cultural Property Initiative. He has produced the worldwide Descriptive Catalogue of Looted Judaica; created projects to make the records of the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), the largest of the Nazi agencies confiscating Jewish cultural property, accessible and searchable; and run discussions and negotiations with relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies. Dr. Fisher was a senior member of the founding staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and was Deputy Director of the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets. For many years a professor at Columbia University, Dr. Fisher holds a B.A. degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Marc Masurovsky has researched the question of assets looted during the Holocaust and World War II since 1980. He is the Director of the Provenance Research Training Program (PRTP) of the European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI) and he oversees a database of art looted by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg in German-occupied France at www.errproject.org, a joint project of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. He is the co-author with Fabrizio Calvi of Le Festin du Reich, 2006, editions Fayard, Paris. He also co-founded the Holocaust Art Restitution Project (HARP) in September 1997. He earned a B.A. in critical cultural studies and communications from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and his M.A. in modern European history from American University in Washington, D.C. He wrote his master’s thesis on “Operation Safehaven: the Allied response to Nazi post-defeat planning, 1944-1948.”
Victoria Reed was named the Curator for Provenance at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, in July 2010. In this role, she is responsible for the research and documentation of the provenance of the MFA’s encyclopedic collection, the review of potential acquisitions and loans, and the development of due diligence policies and practice throughout the curatorial division. Previously, Reed was the Assistant Curator for Provenance (2008–2010) and Research Fellow for Provenance (2003–2008) in the MFA’s Art of Europe department. Reed has lectured widely and published extensively on matters related to provenance research. Before joining the MFA in 2003, she held positions at the Princeton University Art Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and her B.A. in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College.
Laurel Leff is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and the Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies at Northeastern University. She is also the associate director of Northeastern’s Jewish Studies Program in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Her book, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2005. She is currently researching the response of American elites to the pleas to rescue European Jews in the 1930s and 1940s, with two academic articles scheduled for publication, and two additional articles and two books underway. Leff earned an A.B. in public and international affairs from Princeton University, an M.A. in legal studies from Yale University and an M.A. in communications from the University of Miami. She was previously a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the Miami Herald, and an editor with American Lawyer Media and the Hartford Courant.