France to return 7 looted Holocaust-era paintings

PARIS (AP) — France has said it will hand back seven old master paintings that hang in state galleries taken from two Jewish families during World War II.

The oil works were destined to be displayed in a gallery Adolf Hitler had planned. It ends years of struggle for the two families, whose claims were all validated by the French prime minister last year.

National Museums' Agency official Bruno Saunier said Thursday, "this is incredibly rare. It's the largest number of paintings we've been able to give back to Jewish families in over a decade."

The paintings were by Alessandro Longhi, Sebastiano Ricci, Gaspare Diziani, Salavator Francesco Fontebasso, Gaetano Gandolfi, Francois-Charles Palko and Pieter Jansz van Asch.

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