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German Project Reunites Books Stolen During Holocaust With Rightful Heirs

BERLIN (JTA) — A new search in Germany for books stolen from Jews during the Third Reich is beginning to bear fruit.

Recently, a man in California who was the only survivor of the Holocaust in his family received a book from Germany that had been dedicated to him by a teacher. The only other things he has from his childhood are a piece of clothing and one family photo, the Deutsche Welle news agency reported.

Last fall, it was announced that 500 books from the library of Jewish department store owners Edith and Georg Tietz had been rediscovered in the city library of Bautzen.

The “Initial Check” project – dedicated to finding stolen books and their rightful heirs – is a relatively new part of Germany’s government-sponsored search for stolen art, coordinated by the Magdeburg-based Lost Art Foundation. For over a year, three provenance researchers have been searching through libraries, starting in the former East German state of Saxony-Anhalt. In all, there are some 6,000 libraries that eventually will be examined by researchers, Uwe Hartmann, head of provenance research at the Lost Art Foundation, told Deutsche Welle.

In addition to books and paintings, the Lost Art foundation is seeking to reconnect musical instruments, furniture, household articles and even cars with their proper heirs.

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