New York (Oct. 5)
The American Jewish Congress will file tomorrow brief with the United States Supreme Court urging it to hear the Arnold Bernstein case instituted in the lower courts to recover property transferred under coercion by Nazi officials. The case involves the problem of restitution for wrongs which were inflicted upon Jews in Germany under the Nuremberg laws and whether forced transactions under the Nazi regime should be recognized as valid by American courts.
Arnold Bernstein is seeking to recover property which he was forced, under duress, to transfer to Nazi officials who in turn sold it to a Belgian company, Van Heyghen Freres Societe Anonyme, a shipping line. Bernstein is seeking recompense from assets held by the Belgian firm in the United States.
The brief argues that it is unseemly for the Executive Department of the United States Government to press for restitution in Europe of illegally acquired Jewish property while American courts refuse jurisdiction of plaintiffs seeking such restitution in this country. The brief also points out that refusal by our courts to countenance such claims will adversely affect the negotiations and treaties now contemplated to effect restitution of Jewish property abroad.