borther grimm.jpg
Photograph: Wikipedia.org / Picture in public domain

Two books once owned by the Brothers Grimm that had been missing since 1943 have been returned to Humboldt University, the Berlin-based institution said Friday.

The Baroque-era tomes, which include a richly illustrated copy of the picaresque novel Simplicissimus from 1685, were part of a book collection stored in a salt mine in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt during World War II to keep them safe from bombs.

It was there that the books were likely stolen, Yong-Mi Rauch, head of the university's historical collections department, told dpa Friday.

The missing volumes surfaced at an auction house in Munich seven decades later, when the university's obvious stamp prompted a phone call.

Rauch said that the auction house and university had come to an agreement over the books' acquisition, but wouldn't share any numbers.

The Humboldt University owns more than 6,000 books from the private library of the 19th-century German researchers who also compiled and recorded some of the world's best-known fairy tales.

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