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Nazi-looted artwork returned to Jewish politician, resistance figure's heirs

Officials have returned a painting looted by the Nazis to heirs of a Jewish French politician and resistance figure who was executed during the Second World War.

Artwork discovered in collection of dealer who traded in works confiscated by the Nazis

Franz Rainer Wolfgang Joachim Kleinertz, left, and Maria de las Mercedes Estrada, right, stand next to the painting Portrait of a Seated Young Woman by Thomas Couture in Berlin on Tuesday. Germany returned the painting, which had been looted by the Nazis, to the heirs of Jewish French politician and resistance fighter Georges Mandel. (Markus Schreiber/Associated Press)

Officials have returned a painting looted by the Nazis to heirs of a Jewish French politician and resistance figure who was executed during the Second World War.

Portrait of a Seated Young Woman by Thomas Couture, which belonged to Georges Mandel, was discovered in late collector Cornelius Gurlitt's art trove while German authorities were investigating a tax case in 2012.

The reclusive Bavarian collector inherited the 1,500-piece collection from his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who traded in works confiscated by the Nazis.

Many are thought to have been looted from their original Jewish owners, but provenance research has been slow and only a handful has been restituted.

Culture Minister Monika Gruetters pledged at Tuesday's handover to Mandel's relatives to do everything possible to return stolen art to rightful owners.

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