Huffpost Arts

80-Year-Old Hermit Doesn't Want To Lose Nazi-Looted Artworks

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BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the painting 'Couple' by Hans Christoph on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated f | Handout via Getty Images

BERLIN (AP) — The president of the World Jewish Congress is criticizing as "irresponsible" demands by German prosecutors to quickly return many artworks that were confiscated from the home of Munich collector Cornelius Gurlitt.

Ronald Lauder said in a statement Wednesday that decisions regarding the 1,400 artworks found in Gurlitt's apartment, many of which may have been stolen by the Nazis, should be made by the German government, not local prosecutors.

Authorities found the paintings and artworks in February 2012 while investigating a tax case, though the find only became public through media reports last month. The government has said 590 pieces may have been looted by the Nazis.

Augsburg prosecutors on Tuesday demanded the quick return of those pieces to Gurlitt that can be identified as belonging to him without a doubt.

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