Czech court overturns restitution decision


(JTA) — A restitution claim by relatives of a Jewish man whose button factory was taken over by the Nazis and then nationalized was rejected by a Czech court.

The Czech Republic’s national Constitutional Court on Wednesday overturned a 2009 ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that had approved restitution to three relatives of Zikmund Waldes, whose factory in Czechoslovakia was seized by the Nazis in 1939 and nationalized in 1945, The Associated Press reported.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the relatives do not have rights to the factory because it can only return property seized after the communists took power in 1948.

Under the Supreme Court ruling, the relatives and heirs received half ownership of the factory’s buildings and a collection of valuable paintings there, according to AP. The current owners of the factory purchased it from the state in 1994 and challenged the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The part of the factory that had been authorized to the family by the Supreme Court is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

The Czech Republic and more than 40 other countries earlier this year signed on to global guidelines for restituting property stolen by the Nazis.

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