Art: War Booty

Last week the Soviets locked the door on some 920,000 art objects (from old masters to old coins and trinkets) carted off from Berlin* and Dresden museums since 1945. After months of temporizing, Russian authorities finally answered an East German museum official's request for the return of the masterpieces with a flat no. Their reason: the treasures (including Raphael's Sistine Madonna, Correggio's Holy Night, Giorgione's Venus) were legitimate "war booty."

*Other Berlin art treasures were found by U.S. troops in salt mines at Merkers, and after a tour of the U.S. in 1948-49 were returned to Wiesbaden.

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