12 Apr 2009

Looted paintings to be returned to owners

5:04 am on 12 April 2009

The state of California has returned three Renaissance paintings that were confiscated from Jewish art dealers in Nazi Germany during the 1930s.

The 16th-century paintings were returned to the heirs of their former owners, Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer, who died during the Holocaust.

After World War II, the paintings ended up in the collection of William Randolph Hearst, a US newspaper tycoon.

They have been on display at a California museum for over 30 years and were donated to the state of California in the 1970s.

The BBC reports it is not thought that Mr Hearst knew their history.

Copies of two of the works will stay on display at Hearst Castle along with the original of the third painting belonging to the couple.