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WWII GI Returns Books to Germans After 64 Years


Robert E. Thomas now 83 was still a teenager when he took two old looking books from one of the salt mines where German treasures were stored during World War II.  Plagued more by horrors he witnessed as a soldier than his possession of the two pilfered  books, Thomas has had the historic volumes for more than six decades.

“I’ve had these books since I was 18 years old,” Thomas said. “I’m relieved, for one. I wanted to return them to the original owners but I had no clue where to start.”

According to German ambassador Klaus Scharioth, the books are 16th-century works dating to the time of the Protestant Reformation when Germany was the hub of book-publishing.  The first book was published in 1593 and is a commentary on Roman law written by legal scholar Johannes Borcholt. The second dates to 1578 and examines the court administration in the Duchy of Prussia.

Thomas never read the books but made sure they were kept in safe locations in his California home.

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