WWII GI Returns Looted 16th Century German Books

Vet took 400-year-old legal volumes home as souvenirs
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2009 3:19 AM CDT
The two 16th-century books returned by Thomas are seen on display during a news conference at the National Archives Building.   (AP Photo/ Haraz N. Ghanbari)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Retired optometrist Robert Thomas handed a pair of books he filched as an 18-year-old GI 64 years ago to the German ambassador in a ceremony at the National Archives this week. Thomas, 83, found the 400-year-old legal volumes stashed among millions of others in a salt mine while inspecting recently captured areas in World War II and kept them as souvenirs. "I've had these books since I was 18 years old," Thomas said. "I'm relieved. I wanted to return them to the original owners, but I had no clue where to start."