International Condemnation of Austria’s Case against Stephan Templ

  • The case against Templ is absurd,” said veteran Austrian journalist Karl Pfeiffer. [Bringing the case] was“unforgivable conduct,”.“The only reason Templ was prosecuted is that he touched a nerve and reminded the Austrians of how they stole Jewish property with his book. So they put him in jail.”
  • “This case should have been a civil matter between the Templs and the sister,” said Stuart Eizenstat, a former U.S. deputy secretary of the Treasury who led restitution negotiations with Swiss banks in the 1990s and helped set up Austria’s restitution system.

Eizenstat said the ruling is “almost inexplicable.”

I don’t think the burden should be on the claimant to find all the heirs,” Eizenstat said.“Once an heir brings a claim, the government should publish it and say we have heirs, are there any more out there?”

  • Eva Blimlinger, who directed the Austrian Historical Commission’s search for confiscated property  called Templ’s case “crazy.”

It’s the duty of the Arbitration Panel of the General Settlement Fund to prove these things,” she said, “not of the people who make the application for restitution.”

“Nobody can understand it, but when you isolate the case, it’s clear that the whole thing is stupid. Nowhere is it written that it is obligatory to list other heirs. So that’s the part that is the duty of the General Settlement Fund to look up and see if there are other heirs. It’s not the duty of Stephan Templ or his mother.

  • Austria has taken a lot of criticism for many injustices in its treatment of Jews from the late 1930s onward,” said Manfred Gerstenfeld, a Vienna-born researcher of anti-Semitism who lives in Jerusalem.

It may well be that what we are seeing is a decision by some officials to get rid of the headache that Templ’s case has brought and may bring to them.”

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