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Collection Stolen by Nazis to be Returned to Jewish Owner

Jewish man wins legal fight against German museum for the return of thousands of posters stolen from his father by the Nazis in 1938.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/18/2012, 5:36 AM

Jewish delegation at Auschwitz
Jewish delegation at Auschwitz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A Jewish man has won his fight against a German museum for the return of thousands of rare posters stolen from his father by the Nazis in 1938, The BBC reported.

Berlin’s Federal Court of Justice ruled that Peter Sachs, who now lives in the U.S., is the rightful owner of the posters.

The judges said that not returning the posters “would perpetuate Nazi injustice.”

The BBC reported that the Berlin museum said in a statement that it “accepts the ruling” and added, “Based on the ruling, the foundation will soon meet with Peter Sachs to arrange a rapid and mutually agreed solution of the ownership issues, and who holds them.”

Hans Sachs, who managed to escape to the U.S. after being held in a concentration camp, is thought to have collected up to 12,500 posters, of which only 4,529 have been identified, the report said.

The German Historical Museum displayed a few posters at any one time, after they became part of its collection following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Hans’ Sachs son Peter Sachs, 71, only became aware of the collection in 2005, and immediately began legal proceedings to get them back.

Sachs told The Associated Press after the ruling, “It feels like vindication for my father, a final recognition of the life he lost and never got back.”

Sachs’ lawyer, Matthias Druba, told The BBC, “Hans Sachs wanted to show the poster art to the public, so the objective now is to find a depository for the posters in museums where they can really be seen and not hidden away.”