Family of art collector sues Hungary over Nazi loot

The Baptism of Christ by El Greco is not on the Herzog family's list of looted paintings Four works by El Greco are named. His The Baptism of Christ, pictured, is not on the looted paintings list

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The heirs of a Jewish art collector are suing the Hungarian government for the return of paintings worth more than $100m (£64.1m) seized in World War II.

The case, filed in Washington by Baron Mor Lipot Herzog's family, follows a failed battle in Hungarian courts.

The family, who are also suing state-owned museums, say Hungary has about 40 works, including paintings by El Greco.

Herzog left the collection to his children when he died in 1934 before it was plundered by the Nazis.

"What happened in the Holocaust was reprehensible," Herzog's great grandson, David de Csepel, said.

"But what Hungary is doing is also egregious, knowing that this art belonged to our family."

The family's lawyer, Michael Shuster, told the Los Angeles Times the legal action was "one of the largest - if not the largest - restitution claims ever filed in US courts by a single family against another nation".

The family has also launched a website, Hungary on Trial, to back up their case.

They won a small victory in 2000, when Budapest's municipal court ruled that 10 looted paintings, which were part of the Herzog collection, legally belonged to his grand-daughter Martha Nierenberg.

However, in 2008, an appeals court overturned this ruling.

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