German Court Sides With Wertheimer Heirs Who Lost Their Retail Fortune Under Nazis
BERLIN - Germany’s highest administrative court has upheld claims to real estate in Berlin by heirs of a Jewish family who lost their department store fortune under the Nazis. The ruling is a victory for the Wertheim heirs, and delivers a setback to KarstadtQuelle, which had fought the family’s claim to the site of its former downtown Berlin department store near the city’s glitzy, redeveloped Potsdamer Platz square worth millions of dollars. The State Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled that the Wertheimers retained their claim on the property because they had not been compensated for it under Allied restitution programs. A KarstadtQuelle spokesman could not immediately be reached. The department store site is worth some $20 million, attorneys for the heirs said. They said the decision opened the way for claims on a total of 24 acres of former Wertheimer property in Berlin, which they estimated to be worth some $200 million.
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