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Protection of Cultural Properties in Armed Conflicts

"When entering the territory of an offender do no violence to the shrines of the deities...."
Ssu Ma Jang Chu (near contemporary of Sun Tzu) from his "The Precepts of Ssu Ma Jang Chu" c.500 B.C..

"Coming into the temple [i.e.musuem] where the relics of bygone century lie,I found the traces of an invasion by Vandals. Alas! Frenchmen and Englishmen make war for posterity,but do not make war on history. If you aspire to being civilised nations,do not make war like barbarians!"
Inscription found written on the Kertch Museum's door in 1855 after an Anglo-French expedition had occupied,looted and burned this small Black Sea Russian city at the end of the Crimean War.

This page is dedicated to the history of the protection of cultural properties both moveable and immoveable from around the world throughout the ages. It encompasses diverse aspects of this subject including the legal protection,economic aspects and practical measures taken prior to,during and after armed conflicts.


Links

  • Cultural Heritage Protection in Emergencies
    A wonderful site based on the 20th century's international legal attempts to protect cultural properties both mobile and immobile during and/or as a result of armed conflicts. Excellent bibliographical and international legal information and links. Highly recommended especially as a starting point for any further research!
  • UNESCO: The World Heritage List
    UNESCO's list of over 580 properties around the world officially protected pursuant to the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The list has very specific criteria and processes for being placed on same established by the World Heritage Committee the list's supervising body.
  • World Heritage List in Danger
    Lists of properties promulgated pursuant to the same 1972 Convention above (Article 11 (4)) of what are deemed to be threatened properties.
  • Nicholas Roerich Museum
    A beautiful site due to its organization,contents and graphics! Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich (1874-1947) was an artist,arts administrator,educator,poet,anthropoligist,archaeologist,historian and writer. His concerns for the ancient and not so ancient cultural heritages of his birthplace the Russian Empire (pre-1917) along with the political climates he found himself working and/or living in impelled him in cultural properties protection work. He is perhaps most well known for in this last regard for the 1935 "Roerich Pact". Highly recommended site!
  • La 1ere Campagne d'Italie - La Saise des oeuvres d'art
    A wonderful essay written by Edouard Pommier from France on the French Revolutionary War era policies and practices regarding enemy/occupied peoples' cultural properties. Monsieur Pommier is the author of the 1991 book: "L'Art De La Liberte. Doctrines et Debats De La Revolution" Paris: 1991 as well as many other articles on this fascinating subject. Highly recommended!
  • Koordinierungsstelle der Laender fuer die Rueckfuehrung von Kulturguetern
    An official German office that maintains a database of alleged or actually lost/claimed art works as a result of World War II. Located in Magdeburg the office also publishes an international newsletter called "Spoils of War".


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