THE HAGUE (AFP).-
A probe by Dutch museums revealed Tuesday that 139 of their artworks may have been stolen or forcibly acquired by the Nazis during World War II, many from Jewish owners.
Around a quarter of the 162 Dutch museums that took part in the probe into art acquisitions between 1933 and 1945 have objects with "potentially problematic history", the Netherlands Museum Association said.
The questionable objects consist of 69 paintings, two sculptures, 31 decorative art object, 13 Jewish ritual objects and 24 drawings.
The probe's findings were announced to coincide with the launch of a website www.musealeverwervingen.nl
which details the objects and their histories, with the aim of getting help to complete missing information.
"The Museum Acquisitions research from 1933 gets to the heart of what museums do: studying their collections and telling the story to the public," said the project's director, Siebe Weide.
"It was no easy task, but our museums always realised the importance of the research. The fact that much time has passed since the end of the Second World War should not be a reason not to do the research," Weide said.
Names of the original owners have been attributed to 61 objects, the association said.
"Where possible the museums will try to make contact with relatives or heirs of the original owners," it said on its website.
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