CAPTION CORRECTS THE NAME - Henrietta Schubert , right, and Christopher Bromberg, left, grandchildren of Henry and Hertha Bromberg, look at the oil work entitled 'Triptych of the Crucifixion' attributed to Flemish painter Joachim Patinir during a ceremony of restitution at Culture ministry in Paris, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. The French state has given back to its rightful owners a 16th century painting spoliated by the Nazis in the Second World War. Francois Mori AP Photo
CAPTION CORRECTS THE NAME - Henrietta Schubert , right, and Christopher Bromberg, left, grandchildren of Henry and Hertha Bromberg, look at the oil work entitled 'Triptych of the Crucifixion' attributed to Flemish painter Joachim Patinir during a ceremony of restitution at Culture ministry in Paris, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. The French state has given back to its rightful owners a 16th century painting spoliated by the Nazis in the Second World War. Francois Mori AP Photo

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France gives long-unclaimed artwork to Jewish couple's heirs

The Associated Press

February 12, 2018 05:38 PM

PARIS

A 16th century oil painting that fell into Nazi hands during World War II was returned by France's government to a Jewish couple's heirs Monday.

The Flemish painting "Triptych of the Crucifixion" is attributed to Joachim Patinir and it had sat unclaimed in a French museum for seven decades.

French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen presented it to the grandchildren of Hertha and Henry Bromberg during a ceremony at Paris' culture ministry.

The Jewish couple sold works under duress to secure their passage from Nazi Germany to the United States.

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"The feeling of thanks and gratitude is more valuable than the painting itself," said a grandson, Christopher Bromberg.

France has in recent years stepped up efforts to identify the owners of lost or looted World War II treasures.