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German Commission Mediates Disputes over Stolen Nazi Art - 2003-07-14

A German commission that will help mediate disputes over art looted by the Nazis during World War II began its work Monday in Magdeburg.

The eight-member panel will make recommendations in disputes in which both sides request mediation. The recommendations will not be legally binding. Commission members elected former German Chief Justice Jutta Limbach, who now heads the prestigious Goethe Institute, as the panel's first chairwoman.

Among the panel's other members is former German President Richard von Weizsaecker.

The Nazis looted thousands of works of art in Europe, from Jewish families and from museums and libraries. Much of the stolen art has passed through so many hands since the war that it is very difficult to sort claims for restitution.

German Cultural Minister Christina Weiss said her country's responsibility to history continues and that it will continue trying to rightfully return art and goods stolen by the Nazis.