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Germany officials propose law to lift statute of limitations on stolen property

The Bavarian justice minister [official website] Winfried Bausback [official profile, in German] presented a bill on Friday to the German Parliament [official website, in German] that would lift the statute of limitations for certain cases involving stolen property. The law would help [NYT report] Jewish families seeking the return of stolen art and other valuables from Nazis. Under the current German civil code, citizens may not bring claims concerning stolen property after 30 years. This means for property stolen during World War II, the statute of limitations ended in 1975. Critics say that the law still presents obstacles for the Jewish families seeking to recover property because they must still prove that the property was stolen with malicious intent. Bausback proposed the new law after Cornelius Gurlitt was found [NYT report] in 2012 with 1,500 works of art that were formerly confiscated by the Nazis.

In 2012 the German Finance Ministry [official website, in German] gave final approval [JURIST report] to amendments to the Luxembourg Agreement that will increase compensation to surviving victims [press release, in German] of the Nazi regime.The new compensation agreement expanded the number of victims eligible for compensation, offering one-time payments to some victims who were able to escape their home countries before Nazi occupation. It also expands monthly compensation for current beneficiaries of the agreement. The Finance Ministry meets with the Jewish Claims Conference each year to discuss the Luxembourg Agreement.

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