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French Return 7 Looted Paintings to Jewish Owners

France?s Ministry of Culture has returned seven valuable paintings looted by the Nazis during the Holocaust from two Jewish families.

Six of the paintings were given to Thomas Selldorff, an 84-year-old resident of the Boston area, who came to Paris to collect them during a ceremony on Tuesday at the ministry in Paris, according to Le Parisien. Another painting was returned on Tuesday to a lawyer representing the relatives of Josef Weiner, a banker from Prague who was murdered by the Nazis in 1942.

The paintings were part of various collections in France, including the Louvre in Paris and the museums of Tours, Saint-Étienne and Agen, but they belonged to Selldorff?s grandfather, Richard Neumann, an Austrian industrialist who escaped the extermination of Jews by fleeing to Cuba with his wife and daughter, Le Monde reported.

The French CIVS Holocaust restitution committee determined Selldorff was the legal owner of the paintings in December, at the end of a long process.

CIVS is a French acronym for the Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation Resulting from the Anti-Semitic Legislation in Force during the Occupation, which was set up in 1999 as an advisory governmental board. There are another 2,000 artworks that may have been looted by the Nazis and are now in the hands of the French state or various museums because their owners are classified as unknown, according to Le Figaro.

The seven artworks returned on Tuesday were painted by Alessandro Longui, Sebastiano Ricci, Gaspare Diziani, Salavtor Francesco Fontebasso, Gaetano Gandolfi, François-Charles Palko and Pieter Jansz van Asch.

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