* Critics say full list will help determine ownership of
* Nazis looted or extorted "degenerate art" from Jews
By Sarah Marsh
BERLIN, Jan 31 Germany must publish the full
list of artworks found in the flat of an elderly recluse last
year which are mostly believed to have been looted or extorted
by the Nazis, a German court ruled on Friday, citing the need
for transparency in a case long hushed up.
The stash of more than 1,400 paintings, drawings and
sculptures includes works by Picasso, Matisse and German
expressionists Otto Dix and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Authorities
have valued the collection at 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion).
Germany has faced criticism from around the world for
failing to publish the full list of artworks, as well as for
keeping silent for nearly two years about the trove.
Critics say it would be easier to establish the provenance
and rightful ownership of works seized by the Nazis or bought
under duress from Jews fleeing persecution during the Holocaust
if details about them are made public.
"The administrative court of Augsburg has ordered state
prosecutors to give a list of the artworks ... to the reporter
of a daily newspaper," the Bavarian court said in a statement,
referring to the right to information under media law.
A spokesman for the prosecutors said they had already
appealed against the court's ruling and were not planning on
publishing the list until that had been dealt with.
German mass-selling daily Bild said the ruling came after it
had lodged a complaint with the court against the prosecutors
for publishing details about only 442 artworks.
"The extremely high public interest in this case as well as
above all the special moral dimension make transparency so
important," Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of
Jews in Germany, told Bild.
The artworks hoarded by the war-era art dealer Hildebrand
Gurlitt, put in charge of selling confiscated "degenerate" art
by Adolf Hitler, were found in the Munich apartment of his
reclusive son Cornelius.
Their legal status is ambiguous, nearly 70 years after a war
in which the Nazis plundered hundreds of thousands of art works
from museums and from individuals, most of them Jews.
Gurlitt has demanded his art back and lawyers working on
reclaiming property for heirs to Jewish collectors say he may
get to keep at least some of it.
The Augsburg court said prosecutors must reveal for which
artworks they had already contacted potential owners, although
the names of the latter should not be published out of
consideration of their interests.
($1 = 0.7415 euros)
(Reporting By Sarah Marsh; Editing by Gareth Jones)