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Tunisian Court Invalidates Sales of Jewish Property Made Under Compulsion

A verdict which may have far-reaching consequences on the restoration of Jewish property in North Africa was issued yesterday by the Court of Appeals in Tunisia in the case of a Jew who claimed that he was compelled to sell his property because of the anti-Jewish laws which were introduced in North Africa prior to the Allied landings there.

The court ruled that sales of Jewish property made under compulsion of the Vichy anti-Jewish laws are to be considered invalid. The court emphasized that Judges in lower courts can declare such sales invalid.

The belief was expressed today in official judicial circles in Algiers that the decision of the Tunisian court will have an effect on the Judicial committee in Algeria which is now working on a program of restoring to Jewish owners the property which they sold under compulsion of the Vichy anti-Jewish laws. There is no doubt that the verdict issued by the Tunisian court will make the task of the Judicial committee in Algiers easier and will facilitate matters for Jews in Algeria who demand the return of their property which they were forced to sell when the anti-Jewish laws were announced.

A prominent official of the Algerian court system told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that “the verdict of the Tunisian Court of Appeals will, no doubt, serve as a precedent. It is the first verdict issued by any court regarding the question of compulsory sales of Jewish property. There is unanimous agreement among officials of the Algerian court system that the Tunisian verdict will facilitate settlement of similar cases in Algeria. It is worthwhile noticing that the Tunisian Court of Appeals emphasized that all courts in Tunisia are empowered to invalidate compulsory sales of Jewish property and reinstate the owners to their former status.”