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Berlin museum seeks return of ancient gold tablet

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MICHAEL VIRTANEN | October 15, 2013 01:15 AM EST | AP


A renowned Berlin antiquities museum is trying to get back an ancient gold tablet excavated from an Assyrian temple in northern Iraq that a Holocaust survivor somehow obtained after World War II.

Who gets it is up to New York's top court, which is hearing arguments Tuesday.

A branch of the Pergamon Museum says it didn't know Riven Flamenbaum (rih-VEHN' FLAY-vehn-bowm) had the tablet until 2006, three years after he died. He'd kept it in a safe deposit box.

Flamenbaum's family is trying to keep the 3,200-year-old relic from the Ishtar Temple. The estate's attorney says they're considering giving it to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

They say the museum didn't seek its return for 60 years, forfeiting its claim.

Family lore says he had traded cigarettes to a Russian soldier for the tablet.