WARSAW, Poland — The son of a Nazi official returns three works of art that his family had looted from the southern Polish city of Krakow during World War II.
Polish officials say Monday they hope the gesture by Horst von Waechter of Austria would inspire other Nazi descendants to follow suit.
In the ceremony Sunday in Krakow, von Waechter returns an 18th-century map of Poland, built into a small table, and two historic drawings that his mother, Charlotte von Waechter, had appropriated there in late 1939. It was shortly after her husband, Otto von Waechter, had become governor in the southern Polish city occupied by German and Austrian Nazis during the war. Von Waechter ordered the Krakow ghetto be set up in 1941.
The handover takes place at the office of the Krakow provincial governor and was the result of efforts by Polish historian and politician Magdalena Ogorek, according to Krzysztof Marcinkiewicz, spokesman for the governor.
He says one of the paintings had Charlotte von Waechter’s handwritten pencil inscription saying it came from the Potocki Palace in Krakow, where the Waechters resided during the war.
Ogorek tells The Associated Press she spotted some Poland-related objects at Horst von Waechter’s castle in Austria while she was doing research there about his father, who died in unexplained circumstances in 1949 at the Vatican, while waiting to be smuggled to Argentina to avoid facing justice.