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Man claims Nazi-stolen painting


Today our Facebook fans picked a story about a man claiming a recently recovered painting stolen from his family by Nazis. As CNN's Erin McLaughlin shows us. For him, it's more than a work of art. It's a piece of his childhood.

"I remember it as a big painting that was hanging in a separate room of the winter garden of my uncles villa. Two horses each has a rider on it and they're moving through wet beach sand."

The last time David Toren saw Max Liebermann's "Two Riders on Horseback."

He was just thirteen years old and the Nazis had come to his uncle's villa to take his father away.

"My mother and I, we went also to the villa. My mother laden with warm underwear and warm socks because it was November. And she knew that my father would be brought to a concentration camp and I was sitting around there. In fact, in front of that painting."

Toren is blind now. He'll never see the painting again. But he wants it back. 

"It's a part of my past. It's a part of my family."

For years he thought it was lost, along with the rest of his childhood.

That is until November 15, 2013.  The painting suddenly appeared at a press conference in Munich, Germany.

It is one of some 1,400 masterpieces found in the apartment of the reclusive art dealer Cornelius Gurlitt. 

"I was furious when the prosecutor had stated that they had found these paintings two years ago. And they had kept in secret."

Toren knows that Gurlitt's father was a well-known art dealer for the Nazis. But he doesn't know exactly how it ended up in Gurlitt's flat.

Toren has documents that show the Nazis seized everything his uncle owned. Paintings by Pisarro and Courbet and the Liebermann. 

"They knew that your uncle had these paintings?"

"Sure."

"And you're convinced that the Nazis took them after he died."

"Well that letter is pretty clear. They made a list and the letter ends by saying 'I warned the Jew Friedman not to dispose of any of these artworks before we come back.'"

"They did come back of course and they took it like they took the stuff from my parents and from anyone else."

Toren and his brother are the only surviving heirs.

They escaped Germany before the war began part of the kinder transport - a program that placed Jewish children with families in allied countries. He went to Sweden.  Toren learned that his parents were sent to the gas chamber as soon as they arrived at Auschwitz concentration camp.

"I have very little momentos of my past...The painting is a symbol, a poster child for my feelings."

"If you get the painting back, what will that mean to you?"

"It's justice. That's justice. And I hope I get it back."