Germany Gets Back Communist Fortune | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 23.09.2003
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Germany Gets Back Communist Fortune

A Berlin court ruled on Tuesday that millions of euros ferreted out of East Germany before the communist regime collapsed in 1989, should go to the German state. The €225 million ($258 million), frozen in foreign bank accounts for over a decade, stemmed from the East German state's foreign trade company Novum. The long-running legal dispute was settled when the Berlin court decided the firm, which mainly worked with Austrian companies, belonged to the former East German communist party, the SED, and not the Austrian Communist Party (KPO). A previous court decision had determined Novum belonged to the KPO. German law says that assets earned illegally by the SED -- which now includes Novum's fortune -- should be used for nonprofit purposes to benefit eastern Germany.