A Jewish family regained ownership of a drawing after selling it due to Nazi persecution eight decades ago.
Germany’s culture minister has handed over an Adolph von Menzel drawing, found in the massive trove of a reclusive collector, to its rightful owner’s descendants.
A task force examining the late Cornelius Gurlitt’s collection determined more than a year ago that the work was sold as a result of Nazi persecution.
Minister Monika Gruetters’ office said she returned Menzel’s “Interior of a Gothic Church” on Monday to a representative of Elsa Cohen’s heirs.
Cohen was forced to sell the piece to Gurlitt’s father in 1938.
The drawing was identified as looted art in late 2015, but the German government said its restitution was delayed by a court battle over Gurlitt’s will that was only resolved in December. A cousin of Gurlitt unsuccessfully challenged his wish to leave his collection to a Swiss museum.
The Nazis organized looting of European countries during the time of the Third Reich. Nazi plundering occurred from 1933 until the end of World War II, particularly by military units known as the Kunstschutz.
In addition to gold, silver and currency, cultural items of great significance were also stolen, including paintings, ceramics, books and religious treasures.
There is an international effort underway to identify Nazi loot that remains unaccounted for, with the aim of ultimately returning the items to the rightful owners, their families or their respective countries.
Many Jewish families have fought, or are fighting, to reclaim ownership over family heirlooms that are currently held by museums and other institutions around the world.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff