Sleuth helps track down Nazi art

Two bronze horse statues by artist Josef Thorak are transported on a flatbed trailer in Germany.

— A Dutch art sleuth best known for identifying works looted from Jewish owners by the Nazis said he helped German police recover two massive bronze horse sculptures crafted for Adolf Hitler, as more details emerged last week about an amazing trove of Nazi-era art recently seized by authorities.

Arthur Brand provided tips to German detectives who made the stunning discovery in a series of coordinated raids, capping a long investigation into illegal art trafficking. Berlin police spokesman Michael Gassen, who confirmed authorities worked with Brand, said so far some 100 tons of art has been loaded onto trucks in the town of Bad Duerkheim where they were found in warehouses.

Eight suspects are under investigation on suspicion of dealing in stolen goods and fraud.

But Attorney Andreas Hiemsch, who represents the Bad Duerkheim man who was in possession of the art, denied the allegations, telling The Associated Press that his client had rightfully obtained the pieces from the Russian army more than 25 years ago.

Hiemsch said in an email that his client and had “a few years ago” offered the bronze horses by artist Josef Thorak to a “federal museum exhibit” but that he wasn’t taken seriously.

Brand says he was shocked when he pieced together evidence to prove that recent photos of the Thorak horses were not fakes.