Human rights judges have stopped their examination of a complaint which has stirred memories of the Nazi-era seizure of Jewish property in Germany.
The German government has admitted that, in the case Althoff and Others v. Germany (no. 5631/05) , there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. Compensation estimated at EUR 210,000 has also been proposed, which the European Court of Human Rights considered to be a fair amount.
As a result, the court agreed earlier today that further examination of the case was unjustified. Under Article 37 § 1 (c) (striking out applications), the complaint was removed from its list of cases.
The case was brought by a group of heirs to an owner of property, which was expropriated at the time of the Socialist German Democratic Republic (GDR) and which had previously belonged to Jewish owners who were forced to sell it under the Nazi regime.
The applicants complained that the Property Act, whose purpose was to settle property conflicts on the territory of the former GDR, was amended with retrospective effect in 1998.
Following the amendment, the time-limit originally set for filing restitution claims did not apply to claims by the German State, which became the legal successor to the heir of the original Jewish owners of the property under an agreement between Germany and the United States of America.
As a result, the applicants had not been entitled to either restitution of the property or to payment of the proceeds from the sale that took place after German reunification. In its Chamber judgment of 8 December 2011, the Court found a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
Today’s judgment concerned the question of just satisfaction (Article 41).