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France returning art stolen by Nazis

March 19, 2013 at 8:34 AM

PARIS, March 19 (UPI) -- French authorities are returning seven works of art stolen or appropriated by Nazi Germany to their rightful owners Tuesday, officials said.

The handover is part of the French government's effort to return artwork to Jewish families who lost the pieces during the Holocaust, Radio France Internationale said.

Thomas Selldorff, an American, will reclaim six 18th-century paintings, and a seventh will be given back to the family of Josef Weiner, a banker from Prague who died in the Holocaust, RFI said.

Adolf Hitler planned to use the artwork in a gallery he planned to build in his hometown in Austria.

But after the war ended, the artwork ended up in museums across France, and 2,000 pieces of art still have to be returned, RFI said.

Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti said Monday France will be more proactive in seeking out the rightful owners.

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