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Journalist Caroline Babits

Gurlitt Nazi Art Mystery Deepens As Journo Finds Another Home

By Samantha Mitchell,

An Austrian TV company claims to have discovered a third property owned by the family of Cornelius Gurlitt where Nazi looted art treasures were stored.

According to a press release sent out today (Friday) in German by Austrian TV station Puls-4, journalist Caroline Babits discovered that as well as the much publicised property in Salzburg and Munich, the family also owned a huge estate in Bad Aussee in Styria.

Bad Aussee is the Austrian village where the Roman salt mines were located that were used to store the artworks and where Hitler tried to have the entire collection blown up to prevent it from falling into enemy hands shortly before the war ended.

It is speculated that the collection, part of which may well still be on the property, had origianlly ended up there after they it taken out of the nearby salt mine where Adolf Hitler stored 6,000 stolen artworks. This collection ended up as a subject of the George Clooney movie Monuments Men.

The so-called third house is still in the family's ownership according to property deeds in the Austrian archive, and in 1943 it was occupied by art dealer Wolfgang Gurlitt, who is suspected of having stashed away huge amount of stolen artwork.

The programme which is to be screened tonight (Friday, 18.45) says that of the 6,000 Nazi looted artworks hidden in the local salt mine only 3,000 were ever returned to their owners.

In the film Monuments Men the looted artworks were returned to their original owners. But the Austrian programme claims to have spoken to witnesses who say that many of them were never returned.

The programme reportedly spoke to Cornelius Gurlitt's lawyer who said he had no idea about a third house, and was unable to say whether there was any other artwork located on the site.

But the programme claims to have found evidence that it was this property that was used as a storage depot for the massive looted art collection which is now the subject of such heated debate.

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