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State Department Issues Instructions on Claiming Property in Austria

The method of claim, under the three restitution laws adopted by the Austrian Government between September 14, 1946 and March 28, 1947, for property removed from its owners after March 13, 1938 “for so-called racial, national or other reasons,” was announced by the State Department. Claims under the first restitution law should be filed before September 14, 1947, and under the two other laws, by March 28, 1948.

The First Restitution Law covers property presently subject to administration by the Federal or State governments of Austria (as trustee for the former German authorities.) The Second Restitution Law covers property where title has passed to the Federal Government of Austria. The Third Restitution Law covers all other cases where property has been taken away, except:

1. Claims of employees, 2. claims of lessees of apartments and business premises and small produce gardens, 3. claims based on the confiscation or the prevention of the exercise of patent rights, or other commercial protection rights, or other intangible property rights, 4. claims based on public law which fall within the competence of the administration authorities. It is expected that special legislation will regulate these claims.

Under all three laws claims may be filed for restitution by the original owners of the property. If the original owner shall have died, the spouse, parents, children, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces may file claim if the estate has been probated. Failing these heirs, other heirs at law may make claim if they had been a part of the decedent’s household. Where the estate is in probate the executor or administrator may file claim.

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