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Confiscated Property Already Returned to Luxembourg Jews by Government Decree

Restitution of property confiscated from Luxembourg Jews has already been accomplished in many cases, although this small nation has been free for little more than a month.

The first large business to be returned to its former owner is the cigarette factory owned by Marcel Cahan, who had resided here for more than 30 years and who is a member of the board of aldermen. When Cahan returned to Luxembourg from London recently he walked into his factory, which the Germans had sold to collaborationists for 3,000,000 marks, and remarked that since he was familiar with the business, perhaps he could help. When he identified himself, the collaborators hurriedly left, saving him in possession.

The problem of the return of confiscated Jewish property is much simpler here than in other occupied countries, since the government has decreed that persons who brought such property from the Nazis – in good faith or otherwise – may demand from the Germans that the purchase price be refunded, but have no rights to it.

The occupation authorities did not succeed in selling a good part of the property they seized, since most Luxembourgers steered clear of buying confiscated Jewish homes or businesses. The Nazis even tried to sell the site of the old Liebfrau Strasse synagogue, which they had razed to the foundation, but there were no takers.

The Germans did succeed, however, in driving practically all Jews out of Luxembourg. Of the pre-war Jewish community of 3,500, only 70 persons remained when the Allies entered. Ten of them had been in hiding all during the occupation, while the other 60 were married to non-Jews and managed to escape deportation. About 830 Jews were deported to Poland and Czechoslovakia. The remainder of the community fled. If the latter many are assumed to have been picked up by the Germans in France and Belgium.

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