Strife continues over art looted by Nazis

AP 20 January 2009
By David Rising 

BERLIN (AP) — A Jewish man fighting to regain possession of thousands of rare posters seized from his father by the Nazis appeared to score a victory on Tuesday when a Berlin court indicated it believed his father was the owner in 1938 when they were taken.

But the Berlin administrative court hearing failed to resolve the suit filed by Peter Sachs, 71, of Sarasota, Florida, and both sides vowed to press their cases further.

The judges said they needed to deliberate whether further arguments were necessary before they could issue a verdict on the case involving about a third of the 12,500 rare posters seized from the home of Hans Sachs, in 1938 on the orders of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

The Sachs family fled shortly Germany afterward, making a new home in the United States and assuming the posters they'd left behind were lost forever. It wasn't until the mid-1960s that Hans Sachs learned that an East Berlin museum had some and wrote to the communist authorities about viewing them, but to no avail. He died in 1974 without seeing them again.

After communism fell, the collection was turned over to the German Historical Museum in 1990. Today the museum possesses more than 4,000 of the posters, worth an estimated euro4.5 million ($5.9 million).

The posters include advertisements for exhibitions, cabarets, movies, and consumer products, as well as political propaganda — all rare, with only small original print runs. Only a handful of the posters on display at any given time but museum officials say they form an integral part of its 80,000-piece collection.
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