The $10 million ancient gold tablet swapped for cigarettes
Published on April 8th, 2010 | by Sevaan Franks2
Berlin's Vorderasiatisches Museum had demanded the 3,200-year-Assyrian artefact be returned because it was looted by Soviet troops.
But a judge on Long Island has ruled that Polish Auschwitz survivor Riven Flamenbaum's family no longer has to hand over the valuable relic.
Flamenbaum died in 2003 at the age of 92, leaving the tablet to his three children, Israel, Hannah and Helen.
The solid-gold tablet ended up in his hands after it was looted from the museum's storage by Soviet troops in 1945, and traded for several packets of cigarettes.
The tablet was found in the ruins of an Iraq temple in 1913 by German archeologist Walter Andrae and was shipped to Germany before being displayed at the Vorderasiatisches Museum.
Nassau County Surrogate Court judge John Riordan ruled the museum had waited too long to press its claim, and declared the tablet was rightfully the property of the Flamenbaums.