Jewish family gets Beethoven’s handwritten sheet music back after 80 years | Abroad

A Jewish family receives handwritten sheet music by composer Ludwig van Beethoven from a Czech museum. Their relatives had to flee the country to escape the Holocaust and left behind the valuable sheet music.

The museum in the Czech city of Brno has had the original manuscript for the fourth movement of one of Beethoven’s string quartets in its collection for over eighty years. But the sheet music actually belongs to the Petschek family, the wealthiest family in pre-World War II Czechoslovakia.

In August, the Czech Museum signed the agreement to transfer the manuscript to the heirs of the Petschek family. This week, the sheet music was exhibited for the first time awaiting transfer. According to the museum, it is one of the most valuable pieces in the collection.

A law about property stolen by German Nazis during World War II allows for its return. The museum was able to keep the sheet music at the time, because a Czech expert from the museum had lied about the authenticity of the manuscript. As a result, the sheet music was allowed to remain in the museum.

Other assets that German Nazis took from Jewish families in the Czech Republic have yet to be returned. To make that possible, a declaration was signed in Prague last month. This statement urges the government to initiate the return of property stolen during World War II.

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