France pledged today that it would return seven paintings taken from their Jewish owners during World War II.
The works were stolen or sold under duress up to seven decades ago as their Jewish owners fled nazi-occupied Europe.
All seven were destined for display in the art gallery Adolf Hitler wanted to build in his birthplace of Linz, Austria.
The return of the paintings ends years of struggle for the two families, whose claims were validated by the French government last year.
"It's the largest number of paintings we've been able to give back to Jewish families in over a decade," said Bruno Saunier of the National Museums Agency.
Six of the paintings were owned by Richard Neumann, an Austrian Jew who was forced to sell his art collection for a pittance.
The other painting, "The Halt" by Pieter Jansz Van Asch, was stolen by the Gestapo in Prague in 1939 from Jewish banker Josef Wiener, who died in the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
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