Brno - Czech courts must again deal with the lengthy restitution dispute about the Opocno chateau, east Bohemia, since the Constitutional Court (US) met a complaint filed by the original owners' heiress, Countess Kristina Colloredo-Mansfeld, today.
A district court will have to decide on the case again.
Colloredo-Mansfeld sought the reopening of the court proceedings on the basis of a key piece of evidence, the Yearbook of the Jewish Aristocracy from 1913. It allegedly proves that her grandmother was of Jewish origin and that the Nazis confiscated the noble family's property on racial grounds in 1942.
The Constitutional Court ruled that new pieces of evidence might really change the view of the whole case.
The Czech judiciary violated Colloredo-Mansfeld´s rights if it did not reopen the proceedings, the US said.
The Opocno chateau, confiscated from the Colloredo-Mansfelds by Nazis, became state property after 1945 under the decrees issued by then Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes, which provided for the confiscation of the property of collaborators, traitors, ethnic Germans and Hungarians, except for those who themselves suffered under the Nazis.
The Colloredo-Mansfelds, who had owned Opocno for three centuries, took the case to court, but they fled to Austria in 1948 after the Communist coup.
Countess Colloredo-Mansfeld has demanded the return of Opocno since 1991.
She had it returned for some time once but the Czech National Heritage Institute succeeded with its appeal and the Constitutional Court (US) reopened the case in 2004. The lower-level courts then returned the Opocno chateau to the state and the Supreme Court upheld the verdict in 2007.
The heiress was also claiming the chateau's furniture and other items but she lost her dispute.