Many works in German art trove stolen by Nazis

The German Lost Art Foundation has discovered that a large portion of artwork hoarded by Cornelius Gurlitt had been stolen by the Nazis.

A foundation evaluating artworks found in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt says it found 91 so far that were likely looted from Jewish owners by the Third Reich during the Holocaust.

The government-backed German Lost Art Foundation said Monday that 502 works have been evaluated, including pieces by Paul Cezanne, Eugene Delacroix and Albrecht Duerer.

The foundation is tasked with researching the origin of art hoarded by Gurlitt, who died in 2014. He had kept more than 1,200 works in his Munich apartment and 250 more in Salzburg, Austria.

Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand, was an art dealer who traded in works stolen by the Nazis.

Hundreds of photos of Hildebrand Gurlitt’s art collection were published online earlier this year by Germany’s Federal Archives as part of the effort to find the rightful owners.

Some of the pieces have already been returned to the rightful owners.

The Nazis organized looting of European countries during the time of the Third Reich . 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 stolen, including paintings, ceramics, books, and religious treasures.

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There is an international effort under way to identify Nazi plunder that still 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 and are fighting to reclaim the ownership over the family heirlooms, which are currently held by museums and other institutions around the world.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff