Finance Minister Christian Grke resumes legal dispute with Hohenzollern

On Thursday in the Potsdam Ministry of Finance bustling was announced: The lawyers of the house should prepare documents for the Potsdam Administrative Court. On the eve of the negotiations with the nobility Hohenzollern had failed in an important point, and now should be received by 14 clock a letter to the court that the State of Brandenburg resumed a dormant lawsuit with the Hohenzollern.

It is about whether the descendants of the last German Emperor deserves compensation for expropriation by the Soviet occupiers. They demand 1.2 million euros, but Brandenburg does not want to pay and Christian Grke, the left-leaning finance minister, now says that the courts should decide.

He argues that compensation would only be due if the Hohenzollern had been expropriated as landlords. But they were classified as war criminals. They are not entitled to any compensation. “We see ourselves on the safe side,” said Ministry spokeswoman Ingrid Mattern. The experts agree that individual representatives of the Hohenzollern have actively contributed to the rise of the Nazis. That excludes compensation.

Hohenzollern have been conducting secret negotiations with the Confederation since 2014

On Wednesday, talks between the public sector, ie the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg with the Hohenzollern had failed, at least in the point of war crimes status. The Hohenzollern have been conducting secret negotiations with the federal and state governments since 2014 on the return of various properties. The reason: The aristocratic house was expropriated without compensation after the November Revolution in 1918, but after years of negotiations with the state, the Hohenzollern 1927 were a number of castles and tons of art back.

But then they were expropriated again after the Second World War and lost their homes and works of art in the East of Germany, which they reclaim. In addition, they want in a second bargaining that 1.2 million euros compensation. But this is the point in particular: if the Hohenzollern renounce the compensation, they admit that their ancestors were indeed supporters of Hitler.

If, on the other hand, the country pays the compensation, it would admit that the Hohenzollern were wrongly expropriated as war criminals.

There is a second point in the negotiations: the works of art, and there is, after all, an approximation. It is probably about tens of thousands of works of art, furniture, files and private documents of the Hohenzollern, from the valuable Cranach painting to the teaspoon.

Hohenzollern: Loans for public institutions should be secured

The good news after the negotiations on Wednesday is that the museums with historical exhibits need not be emptied. Before the four-hour negotiations, some museums feared that the Hohenzollern would be allowed to bring mass art from the museums, which are on loan there or on which the nobles claim. There was talk that some houses in their existence would be at risk.

But in a joint statement of all sides after the talks, it was then said that a timely and mutually agreed solution is sought. The Hohenzollern made clear that the loans for the public institutions should be secured, so not be fetched from the museums. In addition, the heirs do not want to influence the content of their collections in public museums.

And after an amicable settlement, the Hohenzollern would then immediately withdraw all restitution requests. The Hohenzollern have been criticized especially hard for days, because they also demand a housing right, for example in the castle Cecilienhof. The federal and state authorities do not want to talk about this question because it is not negotiable.

Hohenzollern have no right of residence for the castles

Nevertheless, the heirs did not deviate from this requirement. But they do not want to let a total solution fail. Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) was dissatisfied on Thursday with the outcome of the talks and told the news agency DPA: “A quality appointment should normally lead to a friendly settlement.

There has been some progress. However, it is perfectly clear to us: the castles we have, especially Cecilienhof, are people’s castles. In other words, there is basically no right to reside. “