Holocaust historians criticise Austria’s jailing of Jewish author

[From The Guardian]

2534A historian and vocal critic of the Austrian government’s irresolute attitude towards returning properties stolen from their Jewish owners by the Nazis will be jailed on Monday after being convicted of defrauding the state, in what leading Holocaust historians have condemned as a “deeply troubling overreaction”.

Stephan Templ, the author of Unser Wien (Our Vienna), a book that catalogued hundreds of prominent Jewish-owned properties seized by the Nazis that were never returned, received a one-year sentence as punishment for having omitted the name of an estranged aunt in an application on behalf of his mother for the return of property seized from his Jewish relatives in 1938.

Templ’s book, co-written by the historian Tina Walzer, created a huge stir when it was published in 2001. It included little-known accounts of Viennese landmarks – from the city’s famous ferris wheel to luxury hotels – that had been Aryanised and for which owners or heirs had been either never, or insufficiently, compensated.

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