Culture crime news 7–13 December 2020


Hot this week: The Low Countries, the US Supreme Court, and repatriation

Receive ‘Culture crime news’ as a weekly newsletter! Sign up here

You can search the full Culture Crime News media database at


The Colonized World Wants Its Artifacts Back
(7 December 2020; Vice)

After outcry from antiquities trade, Unesco further adjusts ad campaign on looted artefacts
(8 December 2020; The Art Newspaper)


Ace Magashule’s Former Bodyguard Found Guilty of Stealing Pierneef Painting (South Africa)
(11 December 2020; Eyewitness News)


Nisga’a woman spearheads new effort to repatriate family house pole from Europe (Canada, UK)
(12 December 2020; Vancouver Sun)

Man Suspected Of Burglarizing Gold Rush-Era Mine Museum In Amador County (USA)
(10 December 2020; CBS)

Stolen 30 Years Ago and Replaced With a Forgery Is Finally Returning to Its Original Owner (USA)
(11 December 2020; ArtNet News)

Looted Nazi Art Again Before Supreme Court (USA)
(7 December 2020; NPR)

Supreme court hears arguments in landmark cases over art stolen by Nazis during Holocaust (USA)
(8 December 2020; The Guardian)


New Digital Project Details 150 Belgian Libraries Looted by the Nazis (Belgium)
(9 December 2020; Smithsonian)

Publication details Nazi-looted libraries during Holocaust in Belgium (Belgium)
(10 December 2020; The Jerusalem Post)

Smithsonian and Berlin museums join forces to investigate Asian art provenance (Germany, USA)
(10 December 2020; The Art Newspaper)

Jewish descendants welcome report encouraging return of looted art (Netherlands)
(8 December 2020; Dutch News)

Dutch Panel for Looted Art Claims Must Change Course, Report Finds (Netherlands)
(7 December 2020; The New York Times)

Dutch government criticizes its own policy on Holocaust-stolen art (Netherlands)
(9 December 2020; The Times of Israel)

Cherub sculpture stolen from Newport hours after installation (UK)
(9 December 2020; South Wales Argus)

German art collector, 38, from renowned Gulbenkian family who is accused of £1.1m theft over ‘Kusama pumpkin’ sculpture appears in court after Portugal extradition (UK, Germany, Portugal)
(9 December 2020; The Daily Mail)

Stone of Destiny: 70th anniversary of `liberation’ from Westminster Abbey renews calls for its return to Perth (UK)
(12 December 2020; The Courier)

Tome raiders: solving the great book heist (UK, Romania)
(13 December 2020; The Guardian)

South and East Asia

Artist Discovers a Looted Statue in a Canadian Museum’s Collection, Leading to Its Repatriation (India, Canada)
(7 December 2020; Hyperallergic)

Bringing the goddess home (India, Canada)
(13 December 2020; Mumbai Mirror)

Fake painting scandal of Lee Ufan continues: report (South Korea)
(12 December 2020; Korea Herald)

West and Central Asia

Scarred but still standing, Mosul museum reopens at last (Iraq)
(8 December 2020; Al Monitor)

1,700-year-old Cybele statue set to return home to Turkey’s Afyonkarahisar (Turkey, USA)
(10 December 2020; Daily Sabah)

In Other News

Rare, high-priced red wine stolen from display at Joseph George Wines in San Jose (USA)
(12 December 2020; The Mercury News)

[photo by Markus Schreiber]