New Online Handbook Provenance Research

The new online Handbook On Judaica Provenance Research: Ceremonial Objects is now available through the Claims Conference. This publication by Julie-Marthe Cohen, Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek and Ruth Jolanda Weinberger covers research of two different categories: classical provenance research, which deals with tracing an object at hand to its original owner, and research which deals with establishing the location of a lost object.

One can download the full handbook or individual sections from the website of the Claims Conference.

The handbook consists of four parts:

  • The first part provides an overview of prewar Judaica and Jewish museum collections, an overview of Nazi agencies engaged in the looting of Jewish material culture, the looting of Judaica, the dispersion of the objects after World War II and, briefly, the nationalizations of Judaica before, during and after the war.
  • The second part deals with the identification of Judaica objects and is intended especially for people who are not familiar with this kind of material culture. It gives a typology of Judaica and offers tools to identify an object (origin, age, region, material, etc.).
  • Part three explains how provenance and location can be established by the use of specific documentation and where this kind of documentation may be found.
  • Part four offers a listing of online databases, and a bibliography of Jewish museum and exhibition catalogues as well as of other relevant literature.

Picture: Storage of ceremonial objects at the Offenbach Archival Depot, 1946. A number of objects were identified as belonging to the Jewish Historical Museum and Portuguese Jewish Community of Amsterdam. Photo collection JHM