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German court denies retailer's Nazi reparations claim

[JURIST] A Berlin administrative court Friday dismissed the title and reparation claim of Germany's largest department store operator, and ordered the government to pay compensation directly to the heirs of a Jewish family that owned property taken by the Nazi government 70 years ago. The property in question once belonged to Jewish-owned retailer Wertheim, and is now owned by KarstadtQuelle [corporate website]. In 2001 Germany's restitution office [official website in German] ordered the government to pay restitution to surviving Wertheim family members. In its claim, KarstadtQuelle argued it should receive part of the payments because it acquired the family's business in 1994. The court ruled that KarstadtQuelle has no title to the land or its proceeds - including restitution payments. Under the Federal German Restitution Law [backgrounder and text], victims of Nazi persecution that resulted in the lose of life, freedom, or property have the right to file claims for compensation from the government. KarstadtQuelle released a statement [official website, English] late Friday that it will file an appeal to the German Federal Administration Court [courts overview]. There are currently 45,000 Nazi reparation cases pending in Germany. The Houston Chronicle has more.

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