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Business

First Ruling in Nazi-era Reparation Suit

The heirs to Jewish-owned retailer Wertheim on Friday achieved a major breakthrough in their ongoing legal row with KarstadtQuelle, Germany's largest department retailer, over property confiscated by the Nazis during World War II. The court rejected reparation claims by KarstadtQuelle and thus recognized the right of the Wertheim's to compensation. The case harks back to a 2001 decision by Germany's Berlin-based restitution office, which ordered the government to compensate Jewish-owned retailer Wertheim for Nazi injustices by either returning the company's real estate or paying reparations. Although the office awarded the payments to surviving members of the Wertheim family, KarstadtQuelle argues it is eligible because it acquired the family's business in 1994. Wertheim claims a total of seven complexes in downtown Berlin, including real estate where Germany built offices for the federal parliament. The claims are expected to reach a total of €400 million ($525 million). Tuesday's court ruling however doesn't pertain to all the properties. The court is reviewing only one of them as a test case.

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