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Germany Publishes Instructions for Filing of Restitution Claims

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The Ministry of Finance here today published detailed instructions specifying the proper method of submitting claims under the $360,000,000 Federal Restitution Law that entered into force two weeks ago.

Applications must be filed in quadruplicate and on prescribed printed forms before April 1, 1958, or within the following year in certain cases. If the forms are not signed by the claimant himself, it is required that a power of attorney be attached. Depending upon the area where the property was located, such applications are to be mailed to different German governmental offices, which will thereupon forward an acknowledgement of receipt.

The proper agency for processing applications bears the title of “Verwaltungsamt fuer innere Restitutionen” in the British and American zones, the address in the former case being Stadthagen near Hanover, Obernstrasse 29, while it is Munich, Deroystrasse 4, in the latter case. No single filing agency exists in the French zone, where the task of accepting applications has been assigned to the Restitution Chambers of the District Courts exercising local jurisdiction.

If property was seized in any part of Berlin, applications are handled, without regard to the postwar split of the city between East and West, by the “Haupttreuhaender fuer Rueckerstattungsvermoegen” in Berlin W 30, Nuernberger Strasse 53.

Compensation under the new Restitution Law is limited to Jewish assets taken over by the German Reich or by the former Prussian state, by the German state railways and by the state postal system, provided the property was located in Berlin or in the present area of the Federal Republic, with the exclusion of the Saar Territory.

Not affected, in addition to the Saar, are East Germany, the regions now under Polish or Soviet administration and the countries overrun by Hitler’s armies. Only when looted objects are proven to have been transported to Germany itself can claims be brought with respect to machinery and works of art sequestered in non-German countries by organs of the German state.

The Restitution Law is not concerned with “Aryanizations” whose beneficiaries were German individuals, businesses or municipalities, since such transactions fell within the scope of the restitution legislation enacted by the Western Allies in 1947-1950. The assets appropriated by the German state, and for which claims can now be filed, are mainly real estate, securities, jewelry, silver and gold; reimbursement can also be demanded for discriminatory taxes and levies.

The restitution provisions of the law further encompass the luggage, lift-vans and household effects shipped abroad by emigrants from Germany and, due to the German invasion of neighboring countries, later intercepted en route by the Nazis.

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