New online databases, along with recently-discovered photographs, may help resolve one of the most controversial unresolved legacies of the Holocaust – locating and returning the art, jewels, and other assets stolen and seized by the Nazis from European Jews.On December 15, 1944, The Associated Press announced that “The Allied military government in Germany will restore to the rightful owners all works of art and objects of scientific or historical value which have been looted by Germany from Allied countries,” according to a “proclamation issued in the name of General Eisenhower.” Germans “wishing to make restitution” for the harm their country had inflicted on Jews around the world were asked to help in the search for stolen goods.Sixty-seven years later, the world is still searching – and Jewish families are still fighting for the return of what was theirs.The stolen art dilemma has become one of the most complex of the Holocaust’s legacies, as museums and even private collectors around the world balance the moral obligations to return art works to the families from which they were stolen, with the financial ramifications of handing over a work of art that may have cost millions of dollars. Add to this the problem of proving that an item actually belonged to a given family – or that the family did not sell it voluntarily – and the complexities deepen.But last month, the Israel- based Project HEART, in conjunction with A.B. Data, a data management company located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, announced a project aimed at listing – and returning — some 650,000 art works, gems, real estate, and other valuables looted or confiscated by the Nazi regime. The organization has posted a questionnaire to its web site at (HEART is an acronym for Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce), whereby those who believe themselves to be victims of Nazi plundering may register their histories. As described by the newspaper J Weekly, the HEART database “consists of property addresses, insurance policies, lists of homeowners, professions, lists of known confiscated properties, business directories, and other archival information that can assist potential applicants in their research. Archivists plan on releasing several million records, making HEART’s database the international community’s largest single-source database of lost Jewish property assets from the Holocaust era.”In addition, The Dutch NIOD (Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies) and the International Institute for Social History (IISH) last week announced the publication of “Reconstructing the Record of Nazi Cultural Plunder,” describing the cultural treasures confiscated by Hitler’s ERR (Rosenberg Task Force), thousands of which have yet to be returned to their rightful owners. a press release from the IISH and NIOD described the project and its significance:“This searchable database of the looting of more than 20,000 individual art objects from Jews in France and Belgium showed that at least half the objects were not restituted to their original owners. The Claims Conference, working with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, now presents each of the original ERR registration cards for over 20,000 art objects in electronic form, listing Nazi ERR code numbers, artwork titles, artists, and detailed descriptions of each work.