German court rejects return of art to Nazi's family

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A top German court rejected on Thursday restitution claims by relatives of a Nazi doctor for art confiscated by Soviet occupiers after the war in a ruling which could set a precedent for a host of similar cases.

Gustav Schuster, a gynecologist who worked in Nazi courts which ordered the sterilization of handicapped women as part of Adolf Hitler's drive to create a 'master race', had collected hundreds of paintings, graphics and etchings.

The paintings, among them a work by German impressionist Max Liebermann, reviled by the Nazis for his Jewish background, were confiscated by occupying Soviet forces in 1945. It was not clear where Schuster himself had obtained the works of art.

Relatives of Schuster, who delivered Nazi party propaganda speeches, applied for their return after German re-unification in 1990, starting a legal battle that has dragged on for several years.

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