JKU Expert Appointed to the Chancellor's Advisory Board

Historian Birgit Kirchmayr will be working on projects aimed at returning looted art from the Nazi era.

Birgit Kirchmayr

There are still a number of artworks that were stolen during the National Socialist era and have not been returned to their rightful owners or heirs of the original owners at the end of the war. Under the chairmanship of the former President of the Administrative Court, Prof. Dr. Clemens Jabloner, the Art Restitution Advisory Board of the Federal Chancellery meets four times a year in order to make appropriate recommendations. JKU historian Dr. Birgit Kirchmayr was nominated to be one of the advisory board's experts. After many years of work in the field of NS-Provenience research (such as for the State Museum of Upper Austria) and numerous research projects and publications, she will draw upon her expertise to draft recommendations to return these artworks.

Nominated by Uniko, she succeeds Eva Blimlinger on January 1, who resigned from the office to become a National Council member. Dr. Kirchmayr remarked: "My work has consistently focused in this area and I am happy to have been selected for this job. This position allows me to remain involved in the field of art restitution."

Formed under the Art Restitution Act of 1998, the Advisory Board was established at Austrian museums following the confiscation of several Schiele paintings from the Leopold Collection in New York and also following the ensuing debate on looted art during the Nazi-era. Even after 20 years, the Art Restitution Advisory Board has made 324 recommendations to support the restitution of several thousand objects. After some large, spectacular cases in the early years, the majority of objects from everyday life - from books to musical instruments - are now being returned from the museum collections to their owners or heirs of the original owners.