German-american Court Orders Return of Improved Jewish Property

The Supreme Restitution Courts mixed German-American Division, which is located in this city, has ruled that in cases of aggravated “Aryanization” falling under the Allied Restitution Law, the property must be given back to the original Jewish owner irrespective of any improvements that have in the meantime been effected.

The division’s verdict in the suit at issue provided for the return to the Jewish claimant, former hotel owner Julius Schuster, of a vacant lot which he had been forced to sell in 1938 while he was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. The lot, located in the resort town of Bad Brueckenau, was purchased from the Nazi Party by a German veterinarian, who built a two-family house on it.

During the past eight years the courts habitually held that, where so substantial an increase in value had occurred due to investments by the “aryanizer,” the erstwhile Jewish owner is entitled merely to reimbursement of the market price of his property at the time it was taken.

The Nuremberg tribunal reversed that judicial interpretation in an important decision several weeks ago. “By virtue of the generally recognized principles of law,” argued the five judges, “he who acquired an object by means of aggravated despoliation is presumed to have known, already at the time of acquisition, that no legal validity attaches to such a purchase.” Expenditures by the “aryanizer” were made at his own risk, continues the verdict, and it is not incumbent upon the rightful Jewish owner to provide reimbursement.

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