In a ceremony held Monday, Francoise Nyssen, France's cultural minister returned three paintings to the descendants of Herta and Henry Bromberg, a German-Jewish couple who sold the works to flee Nazi Germany.
Three 16th-century oil paintings were returned to Henrietta Schubert and Christopher Bromberg, the grandchildren of the original owners. The collection included work by Joachim Patinir, a Flemish painter known for his landscape work.
Over 100,000 artworks are estimated to have been stolen or sold under duress in France during the war.
In 1938 Herta and Henry Bromberg fled their home in Hamburg, Germany and relocated their four sons to Paris. In Paris they were forced to sell their art collection to pay for their voyage to the United States.
When the Nazi's occupied Paris the paintings were sold, and were reportedly going to be apart of Hitler's Fuhrermuseum, an uncompleted art museum to be built in Hitler's Austian hometown.
After the war ended the paintings were discovered in Munich.
In 2016, France returned "Portrait of a man" to the Bromberg family, a work created by a student of Joos van Cleve.
After the paintings were rediscovered they joined 61,000 other returned artworks in France's state collection. To date, about 45,000 works have been reclaimed by the original owners or their families.
Though France has been working on restoring lost works to their rightful owners, progress has been slow. 2,143 pieces still remain in state collections at museums like the Louvre, which held a special exhibit of looted works last year to raise awareness of the issue.
Cultural minister Francoise Nyssen said "The restitution of plundered works is a struggle for justice and memory."
H/T - HuffPost