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Special Legislation Needed in Germany to Force Restitution of Jewish Property

Unless special legislation to enforce the restitution of Jewish property is introduced in Germany, there is little likelihood that Jewish claimants, of whom there are 60,000 in the British zone of Germany alone, will ever have their property returned to them, Dr. George Weis, legal advisor to the Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad, an affiliate of the Central British Fund, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today.

Dr. Weis, who just returned from Germany where he also served as advisor to the Council of Jewish Communities in the British zone, said few claims have so far been dealt with in the German courts. He cited a recent case in a Berlin court where a Jew named Levy attempted to regain property which he had sold under duress in 1938. The court ruled that although the transaction had been highly advantageous to the purchase because of the precarious position of the seller, this did not constitute sufficient grounds for invalidating the sale under the pre-Hitler legal code which is now in effect.

He revealed that there are at present 81 German Jewish lawyers practicing in Berlin and Western Germany. Their major work is to file and fight through claims for the restitution of former Jewish property.

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