NEW YORK, April 6 (UPI) -- A New York judge said a Holocaust survivor's family may keep a $10 million ancient relic the survivor received in exchange for cigarettes after World War II.
The owner of the ancient Assyrian gold tablet, the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin, Germany, waited too long to claim the artifact from the estate of of Riven Flamenbaum. Flamenbaum moved to New York after the war, the New York Post reported.
"It is certainly understandable how the family would feel entitled (to keep the artifact) and offended by the efforts of the German government," John Farinacci, a lawyer for the Flamenbaum's estate, said. "This was part of an immigrant's tale. It was one of the things he was able to get and put in his pocket to make a new life."
Israel Flamenbaum, the son of Riven, who was a Polish Jew and survivor of Auschwitz, contacted the museum years later when he learned the thumb-size tablet's true value. The museum sued to recover it, but prior to that, the museum had all but forgotten about the tablet and had never put it on its list of stolen artifacts.
Museum officials think the relic was looted in 1945 by Soviet troops.
The family's lawyers said the Flamenbaums have no intention of selling the item.