Bavarian Parliamentary Body Seeks Repeal of Restitution Law
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Bavarian Parliamentary Body Seeks Repeal of Restitution Law

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The Legal Committee of the Bavarian Parliament has adopted a unanimous resolution calling for cancellation of the Military Government law dealing with the restitution of identifiable property, and demanding the re-opening of cases that have already been closed through return to Jewish owners of houses, real estate or businesses involved.

The resolution describes as “contrary to public policy and morals” a principle of restitution legislation which stipulates that property taken from the Jewish owner under Nazi pressure must be returned, regardless of the “good faith” of the present holder, but provided the Jewish restitution claimant pays the price he himself received when forced to sell.

A neo-Nazi deputy, Dr. Becher of the “German Community,” introduced the resolution. It was supported by the Social Democratic chairman of the committee, Jean Stock, as well as by the rapporteur, Dr. Bezold of the Free Democratic Party, and by the co-rapporteur, Dr. Fischer of the Christian Social Union.

Dr. Becher’s original motion had also contained a clause encouraging German judges to refuse to sit when assigned by German authorities to restitution cases. which fall “under legislation dictated by the occupation power.” This was opposed by the other committee members, however, “in the interests of an orderly administration of justice.” A number of judges had in the past refused to serve on restitution panels without being called to account, noted Dr. Fischer.

Supporting Dr. Fischer was Dr. Wuellner of the BHE Refugee Party. “Surely,” he said, “every judge knows that the Restitution Law, which has been forced upon us, does not constitute the will of the American people. It emanated from a certain group, which has in the meantime had to take a back seat.”

The committee recommendations are not likely to have practical consequences, since Bavaria is not a party to the Restitution Law. Nonetheless, it is considered disquieting that the resolution served to elicit such arguments and managed to obtain the unanimous support of all political parties.

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