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Volume 6 of the series Decisions of the Arbitration Panel

Press Release Decision No. 318/2006

Vienna, Landstraße

On 11 December 2006, the Arbitration Panel for In Rem Restitution has dismissed a claim for in rem restitution of a half share of a real estate situated in Vienna, Landstraße. This half of the real estate had already been restituted in 1950 to the injured owner. Hence, the Arbitration Panel could not pronounce a recommendation of a renewed restitution of the real estate that came into the possession of the City of Vienna at the beginning of the 1980ies.

In 1938, one half of the real estate in the 3rd District of Vienna, on which a multi-storey apartment building is built, belonged to the Jew Rudolf G. In May 1939, his share to the real estate was sold for 12,000.00 Reichsmark to Theodora S. and Josef Sylvester B. under conditions determined by the National Socialist authorities. In May 1939, Rudolf G. left Vienna. However, only in 1941 was he able to realize his final escape to the USA.

In July 1948, Rudolf G. applied with the Restitution Commission Vienna for the restitution of his half of the real estate. Through a partial decision of February 1949, the Restitution Commission Vienna pronounced the liability to restitution of Theodora S. and Josef Sylvester B. Whether Rudolf G. was able to freely dispose of the purchase price had been reserved for a final decision. However, this final decision was preceded by a settlement conclusion in March 1950 by Rudolf G. obligating himself to pay 12,264.75 Schilling to Theodora S. and Josef Sylvester B. As a result, their counterclaims as well as the renting proceeds claimed by Rudolf G. were considered as settled.

In August 1950, Rudolf G. and the other half-share owners completely sold the real estate to the M. AG. In 1981, the real estate was acquired by the City of Vienna.

The current applicants in front of the Arbitration Panel, heiresses to Rudolf G., brought forward in their application for restitution the "extreme injustice" of the settlement, which was concluded then. This settlement has been concluded under encroachment on Rudolf G.'s freedom of contract based on an incorrect partial decision. In this partial decision, the Restitution Commission, without having examined the free disposability of the purchase price, wrongfully established the so-called integrity of the acquisitors. Through this the renting proceeds had not been awarded to Rudolf G. Rudolf G.'s economic plight, which had been caused by the prior National Socialist persecution, lead to the conclusion of the disadvantageous settlement.

The Arbitration Panel dealt in detail with the question of whether in spite of a restitution, which had taken place priorly, a real estate can be restituted anew. The purpose of the General Settlement Fund Law is to resolve open questions concerning the compensation of victims of National Socialism. The General Settlement Fund Law provides possibilities of a financial compensation for losses on the side of the heirs to the applicants caused by an incorrect decision of the Higher Restitution Commission. However, a decision on this matter does not come under the competence of the Arbitration Panel. However, the claim to restitution, which is to be asserted with the Arbitration Panel, has already been positively decided in a prior procedure. For these reasons, a recommendation of a restitution of the real estate could not be pronounced.

For use by media; not legally binding upon the Arbitration Panel for In Rem Restitution. For full text versions of the Arbitration Panel's rulings go to www.nationalfonds.org
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