Germany returns looted Guardi painting to Poland

AP 31 March 2014

 BERLIN (AP) — Germany is returning a painting by 18th-century Venetian artist Francesco Guardi that was looted from Poland by the Nazis.

The painting "Palace Stairs" was taken from Poland's National Museum in 1939. After World War II, the painting passed into the collection of the State Gallery of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

The handover Monday by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski in Berlin is symbolically important for ongoing talks between Germany and its eastern neighbor over the return of thousands of cultural artifacts.

German troops looted and destroyed large numbers of artworks during World War II.

Berlin, meanwhile, wants to recover some 300,000 documents, including manuscripts by Mozart and Beethoven, abandoned by retreating German troops in what is now Poland.
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