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British Library to returned looted 12th-century book

A 12th-century missal, looted during WWII from a cathedral in Italy is set to be returned.

The Benevento Missal, which was stolen from a cathedral in southern Italy soon after the Allies bombed the city during the Second World War, has been in the collection of the British Library (formerly the British Museum Library) since 1947. After a change in the law, it could be back in Italy within months, according to The Art Newspaper.

The missal’s return could also focus attention on other, more high-profile cases, such as the campaign to return the Elgin Marbles and the Benin Bronzes from the British Museum to Athens and Nigeria.

However, the new law would not affect the legal status of such items because the new Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act applies only to claims dating from the Nazi era.

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