Armenia Returns World War Two Art Booty to Germany

BERLIN (Reuters)–Thousands of valuable antique books and man’scripts seized by the Red Army after World War Two and kept in Armenia were due to return to Germany on Thursday–the German government said.

The hoard of 18,000 man’scripts–science books and musical compositions from the 19th and 20th centuries were taken from libraries in Bremen–Magdeburg–Berlin and Leipzig by Soviet forces shortly after the war.

The books were brought to Moscow before being shipped to Yerevan where they were kept in Armenia’s Academy of Sciences–the German government said in a statement. Most of the books were in excellent condition.

Armenia first returned war booty to Germany in 1998–when it handed over 575 antiques and man’scripts.

German Culture Minister Michael Naumann hailed the return of the books and said he was confident that other German artefacts still held in Armenia–including valuable sheet music–would be returned soon.

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