NEW YORK (PIX11) — Seven pieces of priceless art that were looted by the Nazis were returned to the family of the Austrian collector who died during the Holocaust, authorities said.

Investigators said the seven drawings and paintings done by Austrian impressionist Egon Schiele were smuggled into the United States years after they were stolen from Franz Friedrich (Fritz) Grünbaum and his wife, Elisabeth, during the Holocaust.

Fritz was a Jewish art collector, operetta, and cabaret performer. The couple died during the Holocaust, authorities said.

“Fritz Grünbaum was a man of incredible depth and spirit, and his memory lives on through the artworks that are finally being returned to his relatives. I hope this moment can serve as a reminder that despite the horrific death and destruction caused by the Nazis, it is never too late to recover some of what we lost, honor the victims, and reflect on how their families are still impacted to this day,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.

The key pieces that were returned were:

  • “Ich Liebe Gegensätze, “I Love Antithesis” (1912)
  • “Bildnis Edith Schiele,” a portrait of the artist’s wife, Edith (1915)
  • “Schuhe anziehendes Mädchen,” “Girl Putting on Shoe” (1910)

Since 2009, the Department of Homeland Security has returned about 20,000 pieces of art to more than 40 countries, authorities said.

Mira Wassef is a digital reporter who has covered news and sports in the New York City area for more than a decade. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.