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Berlin museum seeks return of ancient gold tablet

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MICHAEL VIRTANEN | October 15, 2013 04:30 PM EST | AP

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A Holocaust survivor's family is urging New York's highest court to let them keep an ancient gold tablet that their late father somehow obtained in Germany after World War II.

Attorney Steven Schlesinger said Tuesday that the estate of Riven Flamenbaum (rih-VEHN' FLAY'-vehn-bowm) has a legal claim, whether the Polish man bought the relic from a Russian soldier or simply took it to compensate for losing his family at Auschwitz.

The tablet was in a Berlin museum's collection before the war. The family argues that the museum's failure to reclaim the tablet for 60 years was an unreasonable delay.

Museum attorney Raymond Dowd says the absence of the 3,200-year-old relic was quickly noted by the museum, reported by scholars and widely known.

A Court of Appeals ruling is expected next month.