BONN (Nov. 8)
Professor Hans Deutsch, famous international attorney and expert in German compensation to victims of Nazism, was arrested this weekend in the offices of the German Ministry of Finance on charges of “inciting people to make claims to compensation to which they are not entitled. ” According to the charges, he has been responsible for the payment “to persons not entitled” of compensation amounting to $4, 250, 000.
Dr. Deutsch is also a noted art patron and, among other achievements, is the founder of the Hans Deutsch Foundation of 1, 000, 000 Swiss francs, administered by the University of Berne, Switzerland. He holds dual citizenship in Austria and Israel. Today, he is in solitary confinement in Bonn’s Central City Prison where, among his fellow-prisoners. is a German named Wike, a former officer in the SS, charged with having been the “accomplice” of Dr. Deutsch.
When arrested, Dr. Deutsch was in the Ministry of Finance, pressing a claim filed by a Hungarian Jewish family, named Hatvany, whose art gallery in Budapest was robbed by the Nazi occupation forces during World War II. The gallery had contained many priceless works of art, including an El Greco and the works of famous French impressionists. Last year, Dr. Deutsch agreed on behalf of the Hatvany family to accept 35, 000, 000 Deutschemarks (nearly $9, 000, 000) in compensation. Of that sum, Germany has already paid the Hatvanys 17, 000, 000 marks ($4, 250, 000), and Dr. Deutsch had come to the Ministry to claim the remainder.
In pressing his claim, Dr. Deutsch had called as one of his witnesses the former SS officer, Wilke, who was an aide to the late Adolf Eichmann, when the latter was in charge of the liquidation of Hungarian Jewry during the war. The German police now claim that Wike has “confessed to a conspiracy to swindle” the Government by testifying falsely on behalf of Dr. Deutsch’s clients. The arrest of Dr. Deutsch has barely been noticed by the German press.