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Germany hands back Nazi-looted artwork to French heirs

Germany on Wednesday returned a painting looted by the Nazis which ended up in the spectacular art hoard of Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a Third Reich-era art dealer, to the family of a French real estate broker.

Germany hands back Nazi-looted artwork to French heirs
"Quai de Clichy. Temps gris" by Paul Signac. Photo: AFP
“Quai de Clichy. Temps gris” by Paul Signac was handed back to the family of French real estate broker Gaston Prosper Levy, in the sixth such return from Gurlitt's trove.
   
Investigators looking into the provenance of paintings in the stash left behind by Gurlitt found eyewitness accounts of German soldiers seizing the Signac work from Levy's property in France in 1940. 
   
“A countless number of the mostly Jewish collectors of art and cultural goods like Gaston Prosper Levy were persecuted, robbed or expropriated by Nazis,” said Germany's Culture Minister Monika Gruetters.
 
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“Others have had to sell their property far below its value or leave it behind while fleeing or emigrating. We can never make good on the suffering and injustice.”
   
Such returns are important, the minister said, as they offer “at least a little bit of historical justice”.
 
More than 1,500 artworks were discovered in 2012 in the possession of Munich pensioner Gurlitt.
   
His father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, had worked as an art dealer for the Nazis from 1938.
   
The discovery of the stash made headlines around the world and revived an emotional debate about how thoroughly post-war Germany had dealt with art plundered by the Nazi regime.
   
When Gurlitt died, the Bern museum accepted the collection, though it left about 500 works in Germany for a government task force to research their often 
murky origins. 
   
Determining their provenance has been slow, and it remained unclear how many of the works were stolen.

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BOMB

1,800 evacuated as France defuses British WWII bomb

Some 1,800 people were ordered to evacuate their homes in northwest France on Sunday as a bomb squad defused a British bomb from World War II, officials said.

1,800 evacuated as France defuses British WWII bomb
Rouen. Photo: SergiyN/Depositphotos

The 220-kilogram bomb was found in late June during construction work near the centre of Rouen in Normandy.

Residents living within a 270-metre radius of the site were told to leave the area early Sunday ahead of the operation, which wound up shortly after 11am.

Discoveries of bombs and shells from World War II are common in France and elsewhere on the continent.

Last month, the French navy defused an unexploded shell found in the sea near a popular beach in Cannes on the Mediterranean coast.

In May, nearly 9,000 people had to be evacuated after a bomb was uncovered in Dresden, Germany, a city which was intensively bombed toward the end of the war.

READ ALSO: 3,000 evacuated after 'British' WWII bomb found near Paris

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