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The works were thought to have been lost forever. Eleven sculptures, all of them shunned by the Nazis for being un-German, have been found during subway construction work in the heart of Berlin. But how did they get there?
This autumn, however, an extension to Berlin's U-5 subway line means the city can gloat over a world-class delay of its own. Workers in the initial phases of building a subway stop in front of the Berlin city hall stumbled across remains of the city's original city hall, built in 1290. Archeologists were ecstatic.
On Monday, however, Berlin's Mayor Klaus Wowereit announced a new series of finds that has generated even greater enthusiasm. In digs carried out throughout this year, archeologists have unearthed 11 sculptures thought to have been lost forever -- valuable works of art that disappeared during World War II after having been included on the Nazis' list of degenerate art. Most of them have now been identified and have been put on display in Berlin's Neues Museum.
"We hadn't expected this confrontation with this period of time, with these samples of degenerate art -- it is a minor miracle," Wowereit said at a press conference on Monday. "It is unique."