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Demand Auction of Austrian State Museum in Payment of War Debt

The efforts of a Roumanian Jewish firm to secure from the Austrian government compensation for merchandise confiscated in 1916 are widely discussed in the Austrian press. The outstanding feature of the dispute between the firm and the Austrian government is the demand now made through legal channels that the Austrian State Museum of History and Art be sold at auction to meet the debt.

It appears that the firm, Goldstein and Ornstein, of Galatz, purchased in Vienna a shipment of clothing material in the amount of 120,000 Gold Francs, for which the firm made payment in cash shortly before Roumania joined the Allies. When Roumania and Austria Hungary severed diplomats relations, the authorities confiscated the shipment for military purposes.

The dispute was brought before an arbitration court at Paris. The court granted the claim of the Galatz firm and stated that the Austrian treasury ought to pay Goldstein and Ornstein the amount of 120,000 Gold Frances plus interest for twelve years.

The Austrian government was said to have recognized the decision but payment was not forthcoming. Legal action taken to compel payment by the sale of the museum was checked by a decision of the Vienna commercial court which declared that under Austrian law it was impossible to press a civil suit by action against state property. Attorneys for the firm announce today in the evening papers that they will seek legal measures to overthrew the decision of the commercial court.

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