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The BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Moscow
"The handback of the fragment of mosiac from the long-lost Amber room is particularly poignant for Russia"
 real 28k

Saturday, 29 April, 2000, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Russia and Germany swap treasures
Mosiac
This mosiac is from Russia's long-lost Amber Room
By Caroline Wyatt in Moscow

For the first time, Russia and Germany have exchanged valuable art works looted by both sides during World War II,

The works include fragments from the Amber Room of Czar, Peter the Great.

The fragments are being swopped by Russia for more than a hundred paintings belonging to Germany, including works by Manet, Duerer and Goya.

For President Vladimir Putin and his nation, it was a historic moment - the return by Germany of parts of the missing Amber Room.


painting
This painting, looted by Nazi troops, has now been returned to its rightful owner
Mr Putin described it as a day rich in emotion, as one of Russia's most sacred possessions was brought home.

But it is only a small fragment of mosaic and the chest of drawers.

The pieces turned up in Germany a few years ago.

Negotiations over their return were held up by Russia's initial refusal to return German works of art looted by the Red Army.

Amber room mystery

But where the rest of the legendary Amber Room is remains a mystery.

The intricately-carved panels were given by Prussia to the Czar Peter the Great almost 300 years ago to decorate his Winter Palace.

Germany.

Russian war treasures
260 pieces of 5,000-year-old Trojan gold

Impressionist paintings by Manet, Renoir and Matisse

Rare Johann Gutenberg Bible
The 100,000 panels of amber were considered one of the wonders of the world until the Nazis stripped and looted the palace in 1945.

Treasure hunters believe the panels could still be hidden underground somewhere in Eastern Europe and would be worth millions.

To Russia, though, the return of these fragments was of more symbolic value. Most Russian were delighted that part of one of their greatest national treasures has finally come home.

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04 Jun 99 | UK
Stolen Nazi art returned
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