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Germany ordered to pay $68 million in restitution to Jewish department store heirs

by JTA

June 12, 2014 | 2:26 pm

<em>Chemnitz building, photo via EPD</em>

Chemnitz building, photo via EPD

Germany was ordered to pay the heirs of a Jewish department store chain nearly $68 million in restitution and interest for properties confiscated by the Nazis.

The ruling by a Berlin administrative court for the heirs of the Schocken family was announced formally on Thursday, according to German news reports. The court had made its ruling last month.

Before World War II, brothers Simon and Salman Shocken had opened numerous department stores, mostly in what later would be East Germany. Reportedly the most well known was the store in the city of Chemnitz, in a building designed by the architect Erich Mendelsohn.

After German unification, the state paid the family about 30 million Deutschmark, or about $27 million, in restitution for the Chemnitz building alone. It now houses the German state museum for archaeology.

In 1938, the department stores were “aryanized,” or confiscated. Their value is estimated at about $41 million; the rest is interest.

The decision may be appealed to a federal administrative court.

Salman Schocken also founded Schocken Books in prewar Berlin. He later moved the company to prestate Palestine and the United States.

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