Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Public Policy and Law and Art History

First Advisor

Adrienne Fulco

Second Advisor

Michael FitzGerald


Restitution of Nazi-looted art in the United States is a complicated legal and policy issue. Victims and their heirs seeking restitution of their stolen art frequently encounter inconsistent legal standards at the state, federal, and international levels. Moreover, there are many different parties involved in these cases, including countries, museums, private collections, auction houses, heirs, and individuals who may have an interest in the particular work of art. Ethics must also be considered, and in the past, international principles for nations have been established to guide the process of delivering victims of wartime looting justice. Unfortunately, the current legal framework has failed to accomplish this goal.

Through textual analysis of six different cases of Nazi-looted art in United States courts, this thesis reveals patterns that demonstrate the shortcomings and strengths of the adjudication process designed to facilitate Holocaust-era asset return. Differing statutes of limitation, choice of law, and the rhetoric involved in the 2016 Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act are among the most important issues explored. In order to overcome the glaring obstacles posed by statutes of limitations and mitigate the weaknesses of the HEAR Act, it is recommended that time restraints must be abolished entirely with respect to Nazi-looted art claims, and laches defenses must be prohibited.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Law and Art History.