Austria Alters Law on Restitution

We urge the global Jewish community to study the case of Stephan Templ [1] as the Austrian government has appeared to alter its laws on restitution through the use of extraordinary discretion. Austria’s actions in this case set a new precedent whereby if currently state-owned property was once looted from your family, Austria will return it to you for free, with no need for application forms, deadlines or anything other than proof of hereditary lineage.

In this case, a Dr Kretschmer had not applied for restitution in time and so according to Austria’s restitution laws, she had missed her chance to be considered eligible for restitution of property that had once belonged to her family. In a show of extraordinary generosity, the State donated its rights to the property to her free of charge. To our knowledge, no other heirs have received such a generous gift and in Dr Kretschmer’s case, it was gifted to her in a secret transfer deed signed by representatives of the Republic of Austria.[2]

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Josh Harle’s Digitization of Vienna’s Stolen Properties

Die Presse reports on Australian artist Josh Harle‘s latest exhibition as part of his tenure as artist-in-residence with the RIAT (Research Institute for Arts &Technology) in MuseumsQuartier.

Josh worked with Stephan to digitally map the locations of the expropriated buildings detailed in Stephan’s co-authored Our Vienna – Aryanisation Austrian style (Aufbau-Verlag, 2001). The book covers the systematic dispossession of Jews in Vienna from 1938 and lists the expropriations, district by district. Now, for the first time, you can see the scale of the theft and how Vienna is littered with properties stolen from their Jewish owners.

Josh will give a workshop at the Coded Cultures festival Vienna during 19-29 May 2016.

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Stephan Templ Still Held in Prison Despite Prosecutor’s Admission

The following press release was distributed to media today:

LONDON, U.K. March 16, 2016 – The continued incarceration of Jewish journalist Stephan Templ by the Republic of Austria despite the existence of exculpatory evidence represents an unimaginable miscarriage of justice, says his international lawyer Robert Amsterdam.

Templ, who has been serving a sentence since October 15, 2015 on a charge relating to a restitution claim he filed for the recovery of Nazi-looted property, has presented documents proving that he disclosed all required information concerning other family members, yet the Austrian government continues to refuse to act.

Additionally, on 16 February, Vienna’s Higher State Prosecutor issued a judicial statement recognizing that it cannot be ruled out that evidence exists that would have changed the original decision in the Stephan Templ matter.

“In any ordinary circumstance, such a discovery of evidence and statement from a prosecutor would trigger the immediate re-opening of the case and the release of Mr. Templ pending the outcome,” said Mr. Amsterdam. “But clearly as we have seen over and over in the State’s treatment of this case, this is not an ordinary circumstance, and they appear determined to continue to inflict suffering.”

Instead of re-opening of the case, the Prosecutor instead recommended that a witness from the original hearing be heard again in the lower courts, while Templ remains in jail.

Amsterdam says the State’s conduct is deplorable. “This decision ignores the real and ongoing harm being suffered by Stephan Templ while being imprisoned, and reveals itself as a move to run out the clock before Stephan Templ’s likely early release in April.”

More information on the case and the latest documents are available at https://stephantempl.com.

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Stephan Templ Still Held in Prison Despite Prosecutor’s Admission

LONDON, U.K. March 16, 2016 – The continued incarceration of Jewish journalist Stephan Templ by the Republic of Austria despite the existence of exculpatory evidence represents an unimaginable miscarriage of justice, says his international lawyer Robert Amsterdam.

Templ, who has been serving a sentence since October 15, 2015 on a charge relating to a restitution claim he filed for the recovery of Nazi-looted property, has presented documents proving that he disclosed all required information concerning other family members, yet the Austrian government continues to refuse to act.

Additionally, on 16 February, Vienna’s Higher State Prosecutor issued a judicial statement recognizing that it cannot be ruled out that evidence exists that would have changed the original decision in the Stephan Templ matter.

Continue reading Stephan Templ Still Held in Prison Despite Prosecutor’s Admission