British Court Recognizes Lithuanian Laws for Heirs of Nazi Victims

A British court set a precedent today by ruling that the laws of the Republic of Lithuania–before the annexation of Lithuania by the USSR in 1940 and its subsequent occupation by the Nazis in 1941–are still valid. The court handed down letters of administration which permit surviving relatives of victims of the Nazis in Lithuania to succeed to property owned in Britain.

The case affected the family of Feival Pikelny who, together with his wife and two children, were murdered by the Nazis in Kovno. Under British law, letters of administration are granted to those persons who would be heirs under the laws of the country in which the deceased was living at the time of death. In ruling that the laws of the old republic were in effect, the British judge held invalid both Nazi laws in relation to the Pikelny estate in Britain and Soviet laws, which would have claimed the property for the Lithuanian Soviet state.

The heirs, under the British court’s ruling, are four brothers and a sister of Mr. Pikelny, all of whom are now living in the United States.

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