Lawsuit against the state of Berlin: Adlon heirs are fighting for a luxury hotel

The heirs to the Hotel Adlon in Berlin have been fighting the expropriation of the luxury house since the 1990s.

Lawsuit against the state of Berlin: Adlon heirs are fighting for a luxury hotel

The heirs to the Hotel Adlon in Berlin have been fighting the expropriation of the luxury house since the 1990s. Now the great-great-grandson of the builder wants to prove in court that the nationalization was not lawful and thus achieve a retransfer of the property.

The heirs of the famous Hotel Adlon at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin want to take the dispute over the property to court. The Administrative Court of Berlin has filed a lawsuit with which they are demanding the retransfer of the property and the hotel in the heart of the capital from the state of Berlin, as a court spokeswoman said on request. According to the court, there will probably no longer be a hearing in the case this year.

The core of the dispute is about the role of the family under National Socialism and the legality of the expropriation of the luxury house. The dispute dates back to the mid-1990s. In September 1996, the State Office for the Settlement of Unresolved Property Issues (LROV) had refused a retransfer of the property, according to the Senate Finance Administration. In the meantime, from the point of view of the great-great-grandson of hotel builder Louis Adlon, Felix Adlon, there are new insights into what happened during the Nazi era and the question of whether the family could have defended themselves against being co-opted by the Nazi system .

The lawsuit was preceded by extensive research, among other things, his client had access to the files of the tax authorities, said Düsseldorf lawyer Wolfgang Peters. "We came across many new facts." On this basis, the community of heirs decided to make a new attempt to challenge the expropriation. According to the tax authorities, the LROV had rejected the application to resume the procedure in February 2020. The case is now before the administrative court.

"The Nazis took control of the hotel and basked in the Adlon's global reputation," says Peters. The Adlons were thus "effectively expropriated" and thus entitled to compensation, he argued. At the same time, the case addresses the more fundamental question of whether Nazi property confiscated by the former Soviet Union may generally not be returned. The Federal Constitutional Court had previously affirmed this. Based on the research, however, Peters sees historical reasons that could lead to a change in case law.

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