Czech Court Says Final 'No' to Jewish Restitution Claim

Czech high court confirms rejection of claim by descendants of factory owner whose business was taken over by the Nazis, and then nationalized.

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Prague.
Prague.

The Czech Republic's highest court has confirmed the rejection of a restitution claim by the descendants of a Jewish man who owned a snap button factory that was taken over by the Nazis and then nationalized.

The Constitutional Court confirmed its 2010 verdict, which overturned a 2009 Supreme Court ruling and all previous rulings of lower courts that found in favor of three relatives of Zikmund Waldes, who owned the Koh-i-noor factory in Prague when the Nazis seized it in 1939 during their occupation of what was then Czechoslovakia. The heirs will also not get back a collection of some 20 paintings that were housed in the plant.

The latest verdict sent to The Associated Press by the court on Friday is final. It said the legal complaint by the heirs was "clearly baseless" because it didn't contain any new arguments.

The heirs did not immediately answer AP calls seeking comment.

The factory was nationalized after the war in 1945, and after the fall of communism the state sold the factory to a private owner in 1994. No compensation was ever paid to the family.

The Constitutional Court ruled in 2010 that the heirs have no right to claim the property because according to Czech law only what was seized after the communists took power in 1948 can be returned.

The ruling came just months after the Czech Republic and more than 40 other nations agreed in Prague in 2010 on the first-ever set of global guidelines for returning real estate stolen by the Nazis to its rightful owners or heirs.

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