During World War II, the Nazi government in Germany had far-reaching and lasting consequences.
As the war drew to a close, Nazis who fled Germany to various nations throughout the world triggered international issues for years.
And, instances involving goods that vanished from Germany during the war and have been regularly recovered elsewhere in the world since then are still being decided today.
International decisions on these issues are not new.
In 2017, for example, a federal judge in Washington decided against Germany.
The next year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that claims could proceed against the foundation but not against the German government.
Due to a legislation involving claims against foreign governments, a case has now reached the highest court in the United States.
The case involves a collection of religious relics known as the Welfenschatz that was sold by Jewish art merchants.
The collection comprises saint busts and gilded crosses dating largely from the 11th to 15th centuries. The collection’s pieces are on show at a Berlin museum.
In 2015, the heirs sued Germany and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which manages Berlin museums, in a U.S. federal court, demanding the recovery of a $250 million art collection.
The case is overshadowed by the events of World War II in Germany.
The plaintiffs asserted that the 1935 sale was a drastically underpriced “sham transaction” conducted under duress by Jewish victims of Nazi persecution prior to World War II.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
“The choice they faced was clear,” the lawsuit said, “their property or their lives.”
When the case arrive at the Supreme Court, the court threw out a lower court’s decision that had let the lawsuit move forward in federal court in Washington.
The justices also threw out a separate lower court ruling that had allowed a similar lawsuit to proceed against Hungary that sought restitution for Jewish people whose property was forcibly taken as part of that nation’s collaboration with its Nazi allies during World War Two. CONTINUE READING…