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This story is making the rounds from Reuters.Demonstrating the wide reach of Holocaust restitution efforts, the World Jewish Congress said Wednesday that Austria\'s libraries had 186,000 books that the Nazis had stolen from Holocaust victims.
``The documents made clear that the books are almost entirely of Jewish origin -- that is, having been seized from Jewish victims in Austria and the Netherlands,\'\' Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, told Reuters.
Yahoo! News has the entire story.
He was referring to documents found in Austria\'s archives that show that on Nov. 18, 1951, the government appropriated the books the Nazis had taken from Jewish institutions, libraries, schools and individuals, and divided them among educational and cultural institutions.
The stolen works cover a wide range of subjects, from religion to sports.
Austria\'s new coalition government has promised to swiftly compensate Nazi-era slave laborers. Once those claims have been settled, the Austrian government says it may compensate Jews whose property was stolen by the Nazis after they overran the country in March 1938. Some historians put the value of stolen assets at $18 billion.
``The point we\'re making here is the comprehensive nature of Holocaust loot in Vienna,\'\' Steinberg said.
Austria, which identified the books as ``unable to return to their owners,\'\' gave some 128,000 to the national library and the university library, Steinberg said. The volumes also were sent to the parliament\'s library, the chancellor\'s library and the Albertine Museum in Vienna.
``We are now seeking to determine which if any of the books that were redistributed or appropriated in the 1950s have been returned (to their owners),\'\' Steinberg said.