KIEV — Ukraine said it would return to Germany a priceless archive of music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach's family that was seized by Soviet troops during World War II.
"The government decided to hand over the archive to Germany under the process of the mutual return of wartime cultural trophies between our countries," Ruslan Pyrih, head of the State Committee for Archives, said.
The archive was owned by Bach's second son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who lived from 1714 to 1788 and served as a court musician to Prussia's Frederick the Great, accompanying the flute-playing monarch.
It includes about 500 works by Bach's family members. Some of them have never been published.
In 1943, the Germans evacuated the archive from Berlin to Silesia (now part of Poland), out of range of Allied bombers. After the Red Army pushed back the Germans, the collection was hidden in the Soviet Union by the KGB secret police.
It was eventually moved to the Ukrainian capital Kiev and tracked down in 1999 by U.S. and Ukrainian scholars after two decades of searches.