Austria returns looted art to Czech monastery

1945 7 May 2009

VIENNA (AP) - Austria said Thursday it was returning looted art worth nearly 500,000 euros to the Czech Republic.

The 180 items, valued at more than €455,000 ($610,000), were confiscated by the Nazis at the Vyssi Brod Monastery in 1941 and ended up in a museum in the Austrian city of Linz, according to a statement from the regional government in Upper Austria province. They include artwork as well as musical instruments and several weapons.

«Upper Austria does not blank out the dark chapters of its history,» Governor Josef Puehringer said after signing a restitution agreement with a monastery official.

In recent years, Austria has returned many looted works of art to their owners or heirs. The most high-profile include five paintings by Gustav Klimt that were handed over in 2006 to Maria Altmann of Los Angeles, the niece of a Viennese art patron.

The Cistercian Vyssi Brod Monastery is located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of the Czech town of Cesky Krumlov.
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