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During National Socialist rule in Austria (1938-1945) real estate and movable Jewish communal property became the subject of systematic confiscation. In most cases real estate owned by Jews was 'aryanized' through involuntary sales or confiscated through direct governmental action. Other Jewish property assets, including religious and cultural property, were also confiscated without compensation. After 1945, a part of the confiscated real estate in Austria was subject of restitution proceedings and in many cases the properties were either returned to their original owners or suitable monetary compensation agreed. Other confiscated properties became public property.
In the Washington Agreement of 2001 the Republic of Austria agreed to embark on in rem restitution of property, allowing the restoration of property which had become public property to its former owners or their heirs. An Arbitration Panel for In Rem Restitution was established, and in due course has begun to publish the reports of its deliberations.
The Arbitration Panel can recommend an in rem restitution of publicly-owned property which had been confiscated but had not been the subject of restitution proceedings after 1945. In many cases restitution proceedings had already occurred after 1945, but even in these cases the Arbitration Panel can act if new evidence has arisen or if the earlier proceedings resulted in 'extreme injustice'.
366 claims were judged to have met application requirements, and these cases have subsequently been the subject of careful juridical and historical investigation. The volumes in this series reproduce the judgments of the Arbitral Panel on those 366 claims. As such they represent a significant body of case law on Nazi expropriations and property restitution affecting a large number of applicants worldwide. The substance of these judgements will be of intense legal and historical interest, particularly among international lawyers and historians of the holocaust.
Co-Publication with Vienna University Press