Wed, Oct. 29, 2003

Court Rules on Perfecting NS-Restitution Claims

WM - Schongau.   According to the highest German court for administrative law, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (JCC) must meet certain requirements in order to effectively register restitution claims under the restitution law covering East German property, the Vermögensgesetz.

This statute grants restitution to victims who suffered financial losses due to acts of nazi-terror within the borders of the former GDR and the Soviet sector of Berlin. Under the Vermögensgesetz, the JCC may claim restitution for deceased Jewish beneficiaries and their successors, who failed to file claims, thereby claiming the restitution of expropriated real property. In order to meet the statutory registration deadline of December 31st, 1992, the organization first made a global registration of claims for any and all properties.

The court held, however, that claims must identify expropriated real property, its value and former owner(s) by referring to files and documents of authorities, archives, institutions or companies made accessible after the collapse of the GDR. Therefore, the court turned down the request for a global registration of claims. It upheld a subsequent filing that that met the statutory burden, see BVerwG 7 C 62.02 and 8.03, Oct 23, 2003).

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