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Holocausthistoriansattack'obscene'jail
termforJewishauthorwhocondemned
Austriangovernmentoverpropertystolen
bytheNazis

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StephanTemplcoauthoredbookcataloguinghundredsofJewishowned
propertiesseizedbyNazisandneverreturned
PublicationsparkedwaveoflegalclaimsagainsttheAustriangovernment
MrTemplfiledclaimforashareofViennesecliniconbehalfofhismother
Buthewasconvictedforfraudafteritemergedhisauntwasalsoentitled
buthadmissedthedeadlineformakingaclaim
Austriasaidifwouldhavebeenentitledtothemoneyiftheaunthad
chosennottoclaimhershare

PUBLISHED:09:29,5October2015|UPDATED:10:45,5October2015

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DozensofHolocausthistorianshaveattackedthe
'obscene'jailtermhandedtoacriticofthe
Austriangovernmentwhowasconvictedof
defraudingthestateoveraclaimforproperty
stolenfromhisJewishrelativesbytheNazis.
StephanTemplcoauthoredthebookOurVienna
in2001whichcataloguedhundredsofJewish
ownedpropertiesthatwereseizedbyHitler's
regimeandneverreturned.

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MrTemplhimselfwentontofilearestitution
claimonbehalfofhis82yearoldmother,
Helene,forhershareofaprivatebirthclinicin
Viennathatbelongedtohisgrandmother's
cousinLotharFrth,itwasreportedbyThe
Guardian.
The19thCenturyvillaneartheRingstrassewas
expropriatedbytheNazisinApril1938.

MrTempl,54,submittedhisclaimafterlearning
thatanarbitrationpanelsetupasaresultofa

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Thebookwhichidentifiedmajorlandmarks
fromthecity'siconicferriswheeltoluxuryhotels
sparkedawaveoflegalclaimsagainstthe
Austriangovernmentfromaroundtheworld.

Amonthbeforeitwasseized,Furthandhiswife
Suewereforcedtocleanthepavementoutside
thebuildingwithtoothbrushesinafinalactof
humiliationthatledtothembothcommitting
suicide.

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Jailed:HistorianandcriticoftheAustrian
governmentStephanTemplwasconvictedof
defraudingthestateoveraclaimforthereturnof
propertystolenfromJewishrelativesbytheNazis

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treatybetweentheU.S.andAustriatoruleonthe
returnofNaziconfiscatedpropertieshaddecided
toreturnthesanatoriumtothefamily'sheirs.
Thebuildingwassoldin2010andproceedssplitbetweenthe39descendants,ofwhichHelene
received800,000forhershare.
However,itlateremergedthatHelene'ssister,ElisabethKretchmar,hadalsobeeninlineforashare
buthadmissedthedeadlineformakingaclaim.

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MrTemplwasprosecutedfordefraudingthegovernmentonthebasisthatifhisaunthadchosen
nottoclaimhershareitcouldhavegonetotheAustriangovernment.

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Hewassentencedtothreeyearsinprisonafterajudgeruledhehad'damagedtheRepublicof
Austria'butthiswasreducedtoayearonappeal.
ThiscameevenafterMrsKretchmartoldthecourtshewouldneverhavegiventhestatehershare.

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MrTemplfiledarestitutionclaimonbehalfofhis82yearoldmother,Helene,forhershareofaprivatebirth
clinicinViennathatbelongedtohisgrandmother'scousinLotharFrth.The19thCenturyvillanearthe
RingstrassewasexpropriatedbytheNazisaftermonthafterHitler'sinvasionofAustria(above)inMarch1938

Legalexpertshavecondemnedtheruling,sayingthatitwastheobligationofthearbitrationpanel
andnotTempltofindtheheirs.
RobertAmsterdam,aleadinghumanrightslawyerwhoisrepresentingTempl,saidthecasewasan
'affronttojustice'and'fraughtwithlegalabnormalities'.
SeventyfiveHolocausthistorianshavealsosignedaletterurgingtheAustriangovernmentto
overturnthesentence.
TempltoldTheGuardian'sKateConnolly:'Owingtothefactthatthestatestolethepropertyfrom
myfamily,theobligationshouldbeonthemtotrackdowntherelatives.

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'Imaginethenightmareformymother.Shesaysit'sasiftheNazipersecutioncontinuesforher.'
KarlPfeifer,aveteranAustrianjournalistandaHolocaustsurvivor,said:'TheonlyreasonTemplwas
prosecutedisthathetouchedanervewithhisbook.'
Templbeginshisjailsentencetoday.

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Readmore:
HolocausthistorianscriticiseAustriasjailingofJewishauthor|Worldnews|TheGuardian
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