Outlawed as "degenerate art" by the Nazi, a treasure trove of sculptures was found buried in rubble.
Eleven sculptures outlawed by the Nazi in the late 1930s have been recovered.
The art collection was found in the bombed-out cellars of a Berlin house destroyed during World War II.
A treasure trove of sculptures banned by the Nazis has been uncovered from the bombed-out cellars of a Berlin house destroyed during World War II, German museum officials said on Monday.
Eleven bronze or terracotta statues, dating from the early 20th century and outlawed by the Nazis in the late 1930s as "degenerate art," will go on display Tuesday at Berlin's archeological museum, a kilometer (less than a mile) from where they were found just weeks ago.
Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit said he was delighted at the find, just outside his City Hall, adding that ownership of the art pieces had not yet been determined.
"We should just be happy that these pieces have been found. The question of ownership is relatively unimportant," he added.
Eight of the sculptures, some of which are damaged, have been identified as the works of German artists Otto Baum, Otto Freundlich, Karl Knappe, Marg Moll, Emy Roeder, Edwin Scharff, Gustav Heinrich Wolff, and Naum Slutzky.
The other three are as yet unidentified, according to Hermann Parzinger, head of the Institute of Prussian Culture.
The small-sized sculptures were among works seized from a number of museums in Germany in 1937 and then exhibited in Munich and other German cities by the Nazis as "degenerate art" which people were meant to laugh at.
The archaeologists found the artifacts as they were digging for medieval pieces in a trench which will form part of a new metro line in central Berlin.
Matthias Wemhoff, an archaeologist and director of Berlin's museum of early history, said a team had been looking for the remains of a 13th century town hall earlier this year when a worker found a bronze figurehead which had been dug up by a bulldozer.
"We thought we were digging for old 13th century remains and we came up with so-called degenerate art from the 20th century. Talk about being surprised," said Wemhoff.
More careful investigation of the remains of two cellars of a house destroyed by bombing in the late summer of 1944 revealed the other artifacts which, archeologists believe, tumbled down from the second or third floor of a house which collapsed after burning.
Specialists identified the sculptures, which all bore burn marks, from old photos showing some of the 20,000 objects confiscated by the Nazis from over 100 museums in the late 1930s.
Some of this art was sold abroad for hard currency, while much of the rest was destroyed or lost during the war.
Specialists believe the 11 sculptures, some of which were used in the making of a propaganda film in 1941, might have been saved by Erhard Oewerdieck, a tax inspector honored by the Yad Vashem holocaust museum in Israel for helping to save Jews during World War II.
Oewerdieck had an office in the destroyed building.