Grabinski and Grabinska v Deutsches Reich and Land Bayern

CourtSupreme Restitution Court (Germany)
Date08 1956
German Federal Republic, Supreme Restitution Court, Third Division.

(Bechmann, President; Robinson, Flammger, Dopffel, Harris, Judges.)

Grabinski and Grabinska
and
Deutsches Reich and Land Bayern.

Consuls Privileges and immunities of Personal property of Consul Position in time of war.

Warfare on land Occupation of enemy territory Respect for private property Consular official of enemy nationality serving in territory of occupying Power Private property of consular official in custody of neutral Consul Confiscation of Whether contrary to recognized international law Relevance of discriminatory nature of legislation against property of enemy nationals Confiscation of property of Polish consular official by German Reich.

The Facts.This was a petition for review of decisions of the Restitution Chamber of the Landgericht and of the Oberlandesgericht of Munich. The appellants, Mieczyslaw Grabinski and Dr. Wanda Grabinska, were husband and wife. Mieczyslaw Grabinski used to serve as Polish Consul General in Munich. With the outbreak of war between Germany and Poland on September 1, 1939, they deposited the property of the Polish Government and their own personal property with the Royal Swedish Consul at Munich. The Swedish Consul General stated that in late 1939 or early 1940, the Reich made a demand upon him to surrender the property placed in his custody by the appellants. He refused to comply. He sought advice from the Swedish Ambassador who suggested that he comply. Accordingly the property was handed over to an agent of the Reich. What became of it subsequently was not known.

The appellants sought restitution of their personal property on the ground that they were deprived of it because of their nationality. The Restitution Chamber of the Landgericht of Munich thought that in all probability the seizure had been based on the Ordinance concerning the Treatment of Property of Members of the Former Polish State, dated September 17, 1940 (RGB1, 1940, p. 1270). However, the Chamber believed that the seizure did not give rise to a cause of action under Law 59 (the Restitution Law) in that such acts were specifically exempted from its scope by the second sentence of Article, 1, paragaph 1.[1] They held that the claimants had failed to establish a cause of action since they could not prove that one of the reasons mentioned in Article 1 motivated the seizure.

On appeal, the Oherlandesgericht held that seizures of this type were usually permissible under...

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