An auction of Austrian Jewish artwork looted by Nazi Germany in World War II was dwarfing all expectations on Wednesday in raising money for victims of the Holocaust.

The two-day sale of more than 8,000 items at the Vienna Museum for Applied Arts, organized by British auctioneers Christie's, fetched $11.8 million on Tuesday. The entire collection had been valued at $3.5 million."It's been something we did not dare hope for in our wildest dreams," said Anke Adler-Slottke, director of the sale at Christie's. "We are absolutely delighted that so much has already been realized for the victims of the Holocaust."

Lines formed around the museum as more than 1,000 people crammed into three auction rooms to watch paintings and drawings by old masters go under the hammer on the second day.

"It was an incredible atmosphere. We were selling all the way through with breaks of 10-15 minutes only," said Adler-Slottke. Bidders on the floor were joined by more than 100 telephone bidders on 18 lines.

Emotions ran high as bidders offered huge prices for works by often little-known artists. "I think prices paid occasionally for items certainly far (exceeded) what one would (normally) realize for the same artist," Adler-Slottke said.

A still life by 17th century French painter Abraham Mignon, valued at up to 800,000 schillings ($75,000), fetched the top price so far at 12.7 million schillings ($1.20 million). It was bought by British art dealer Richard Green.

A 15th century painting by Sienese artist Pietro di Francesco degli Orioli, depicting the Madonna and child and valued at up to 1.2 million schillings, went for 3.0 million.