December 10, 2023

Supreme Court Decision: US courts have no jurisdiction over Welfenschatz - Culture

The Supreme Court looks into internal German affairs: US courts are not allowed to rule on Welfenschatz – Culture

It seems that the years of shivering are coming to an end. According to a decision of the US Supreme Court, the dispute over the so-called treasure wolf, which has started since 2008, cannot be referred to a US court.

On Wednesday, the nine constitutional judges of the Supreme Court decided unanimously in Washington that the matter involved German internal affairs and sent the case back to the District Court of Columbia.

It was there that the heirs of the Union of Artifact Dealers, who lived in the United States and sold a total of 42 parts of the medieval church treasure from Braunschweig Cathedral to the Prussian state in 1935, sued for surrender. Today there is a medieval cross, pogroms, and pogroms in support of the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts, under the auspices of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

In response to the lawsuit, the latter called on the Supreme Court to clarify jurisdiction. The foundation’s president, Hermann Barzinger, welcomed the Constitutional Court’s ruling: “The SPK has always held that the case does not concern a US court.” He is now looking to present the legal arguments to the district court as to why the case was filed for the refusal.

The expectation appears to be justified, because the court in Colombia, which is now competent again, must follow a higher order. The Chief Justice John Roberts had stated in the foundations of the ruling that American American law could not be decisive for the whole world. Nevertheless, Roberts tasked the District Court with the task of examining the heirs’ argument that their ancestors were not German citizens at the time of the sale.

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So the controversy over the Prussian establishment is not over. From the start, she described the purchase as a “decent deal”, which was also confirmed to her in 2014 by the Limbach committee.

Jewish art dealers bought the church treasure for 7.5 million Reichsmarks in 1929 from the Welvin noble family and in 1935 sold part of it to the Prussian state for 4.25 million Reichsmarks.

According to the foundation, this was in no way done under pressure, say the lawyers for their descendants. In 2015, the state of Berlin declared the treasure a cultural asset of national value, which means that it can only be exported with the approval of the federal government. Then the heirs turned to the American courts.