Natalia Pakh

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Judith Prowda

Second Advisor

Betsy Thomas


My thesis addresses the obstacles that arise when dealing with art restitution claims against Hungary and its cultural institutions, as well as Hungary’s attempt at restitution of its own lost art treasures. Numerous conclusions come to light by contextualizing the geopolitical landscape of Hungary from the beginning of the 20th century to the modern day. From the rampant looting during World War II by the Nazis, Jewish families lost a myriad of treasures. Two specific art collections from prominent Jewish-Hungarian families and their roads to restitution are analyzed in order to exemplify and contrast the difficulties in solving their heirs’ restitution cases. Moreover, the soviet plunder that occurred directly after the end of World War II proved to create a far more convoluted framework for the road to art restitution. In analyzing a detailed historical timeline, archival data, and the intricacies of specific claims and cases, this thesis will shed light on why art restitution was and still remains an impossible enterprise against and from Hungary.