Berlin / Washington (dpa) - In the years of dispute between the descendants of Jewish art dealers and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation over the Welfenschatz, the foundation was able to achieve success before the Supreme Court of the USA.

The Berlin foundation, supported by the federal and state governments, wanted to know whether US courts were even competent for the case.

The Supreme Court does not see any evidence of the heirs in its decision of Wednesday that claims in the USA can be made against Germany.

The case was returned to a lower instance.

From the point of view of Foundation President Hermann Parzinger, the US Supreme Court follows the foundation's arguments with a unanimous decision.

"The SPK has long been of the opinion that the case does not belong in a US court," tweeted Parzinger.


The Guelph treasure includes valuable altarpieces, decorative crosses and shrines from the Brunswick Cathedral.

The goldsmith's work from the 11th to 15th centuries came into the possession of the Welfenhaus in 1671.

The foundation has been in charge of 44 of the original 82 objects since the post-war period.

In 2015, the state of Berlin declared the Welfenschatz a nationally valuable cultural asset.

This means that exports from Germany are only possible with the approval of the federal government.

The proceedings concern 42 of the gold relics.

The descendants of the previous owners assume that the objects were only apparently legally stolen from their ancestors by the Nazis.


Restitution was first requested in 2008.

According to its own investigations into the sale of the Welf Treasure in 1935, the foundation is convinced that it was not a forced sale due to Nazi persecution.

The Advisory Commission for National Socialist Returns confirmed this position in 2014.

Under German law, proceedings due to the statute of limitations would not be possible.

The heirs sued the District Court in Washington, which recognized jurisdiction over proceedings against the foundation.

The appeal, however, was denied.

The Foundation wanted the Supreme Court to dismiss the action as inadmissible.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210203-99-292582 / 2


Supreme Court on the case

Foundation on Welfenschatz and Procedure

Advisory Commission recommendation

Information about the Welf Treasure

Tweet Parzinger

Tweet 2 Parzinger