Hofstein v Bock

Date10 Octubre 1956
CourtSupreme Restitution Court (Germany)
German Federal Republic, Supreme Restitution Court, Second Division.

Jurisdiction Territorial Over territory in general and persons and property therein Jurisdiction of Restitution Authorities in former British Zone of Germany Rules determining territorial applicability of legislation Relevance to legislation of a special nature Principle of effectiveness Effect of confiscation of subject of restitution claim by foreign State Relevance of place of deprivation.

The Facts.The claimant, Hofstein, was formerly in partnership with one H. in a firm (Offene Handelsgesellschaft) in Leipzig in the former Soviet Zone of Germany. Both partners were Jewish. They sold the stock, outstanding contracts and inventory of the firm to a limited partnership (Kommanditgesellschaft) in Leipzig, of which the defendant Bock subsequently became sole partner. In 1947, the business of the limited partnership was taken into public ownership.

Hofstein brought a claim for restitution under Law 59, the Restitution Law.1 He made an alternative claim for additional payment under Article 13 of Law 59.2 Both the Restitution Chamber of Krefeld and the Oberlandesgericht, Dsseldorf, held that the claimant was not entitled to claim under Article 13 in respect of moveable property of the limited partnership allegedly brought from Leipzig into the British Zone, but the Oberlandesgericht thought that the claimant might be able to claim compensation. The claimant petitioned the Supreme Restitution Court.

Held: that the case must be remitted to the Chamber for further investigation and a fresh decision. With regard to property which had always been situated in East Germany and which could not be restituted owing to confiscation there, the Restitution Authorities

in the former British Zone had no jurisdiction to order restitution or an alternative remedy. But where the affected property was in East Germany at the time of the deprivation but was later brought into the British Zone, the Restitution Authorities in that Zone had jurisdiction to order restitution

The Court said: The claimant's contentions raise the question of the extent of the jurisdiction under Law 59 of the Restitution Authorities in the former British Zone of Western Germany, in relation to property situated at the time of the unjust deprivation in the Eastern Zone of Germany, of which, within the material period, the claimant was unjustly deprived for one of the reasons referred to in Article 1 of Law 59. There are no express provisions in Law 59...

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