- Files discovered by chance in State Archives form basis of new appeal
- Scientific chemical ink analysis of 'destruction orders' dates documents within period eligible for restitution
- Potential for further similar claims if ruled in favour
LONDON, July 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the July 20th, 1944 foiled assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler approach, the grandson of a conspirator in the 'Valkyrie' plot has escalated his claim for land restitution.
Prince Friedrich zu Solms Baruth escaped Nazi execution but was arrested July 21st, 1944, imprisoned and tortured for 9 months for his part in the assassination attempt. He signed a 'Power of Disposal' document in March 1945 whilst in prison, passing his 17,300 hectares of land directly to Himmler.
German courts upheld the validity of the 'power of disposal' document used by Himmler in a failed 2014 appeal to return the land.
Lawyers for Solms Baruth believe newly discovered documents, mis-filed and found by chance in the German state Archives, hold the key to resolving the case. Independently conducted scientific chemical ink analysis of 'destruction orders' date the documents within the eligible period for restitution.
If the case is again denied, the claimant will, with Lord Peter Goldsmith, QC, take it to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Lord Goldsmith says: "In rejecting the restitution case in 2014 the courts refused to hear the testimony of historian Sir Antony Beevor, among other experts, rejected the British Intelligence report confirming the arrest and confiscation was a result of the 1944 plot, and failed to ask the government to provide expert testimony."
Solms Baruth's Lawyers have estimated that 10-20% of outstanding claims within the Brandenburg State archive could be ascribed as potential new 'restitution' cases – that is they relate to actions taken pre-May 1945 by the Nazi government (restitution laws do not apply to post-May 1945 cases).
Claimant Frederick Solms Baruth says: "Righting this grievous wrong was my grandfather and my father's dying wish. In the face of indifference and obfuscation, it is my mission and I will not rest until I see justice served. It is my dream to see this land returned and bring prosperity back to the Baruth region through investment, thought and care, to honour grandfather's memory."
Frederick Solms Baruth is available for interview.
Further information available
- Scientific briefing
- Statement from Lord Goldsmith
- More detailed overarching brief
- Archival photographic images
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