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Nazi-looted painting returned by Germany to legal owners

On Monday, the Federal Administration Office in Cologne said Germany has returned a painting plundered by the Nazis to its rightful owners.

“The painting, “Italian City with Waterfall” by landscape artist Jacob Philipp Hackert, was retrieved personally by the heirs from a Berlin warehouse,’’ a spokesman of the Office said in Cologne.

Hamburg businessman Franz Rappolt, the original owner of the painting, was forced by Nazi authorities to sell it in 1939 to the prominent art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt.

The Nazis allowed Gurlitt to sell so-called degenerate art, deemed by Adolf Hitler’s regime to be un-German.

Large parts of the art collection belonged to Jewish collectors who were forced to sell it for a pittance before the Holocaust.

From Gurlitt, the work was transferred to another art dealer and then came into the possession of the German Reich.

Gurlitt’s son, Cornelius Gurlitt, gained notoriety in November 2013 for his vast trove of over 1,400 paintings and artworks that was seized from his Munich apartment by German authorities as part of a tax probe the year before.

Rappolt died in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia in 1943

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