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Memo September 2010 - the Zlata Ebenspanger Case

Recently, the Italian television station RAI as well as the press broadcasted and published respectively, that the Croatian Supreme Court granted the request of a foreign citizen, namely Zlata Ebenspanger, a Brazilian Jew, for the restitution of property that belonged to her family and that was nationalised after 1945.


Furthermore, the Italian press also mentioned the involvement of the Italian Foreign Minister in this matter and that the verdict will make it easier for Italian, German, Austrian etc. citizens to ask for restitution and compensation of property.


However, our organisation was able to obtain a copy of the decision and through our contacts in Zagreb we have been able to get in touch with Ms Ebenspanger’s lawyer.


Apparently, there seems to be a discrepancy between what was reported and what we have verifiably found out.

First of all the recent decision does not apply to Italian Esuli, since the judgment only guarantees compensation in the absence of bilateral agreements,-  between Yugoslavia and Italy however many agreements have been reached; although may be not all fulfilled.


Nonetheless, we have also found out that the Sabor (Croatian Parliament) is presently revising the matter of equal indemnification for all foreigners regardless the existence of bilateral agreements. Hopefully a solution will be found in conformity with the EU Regulations.

Seemingly, Jewish, American and Austrian organisations as well as institutions are carefully monitoring this process in order for justice to be finally done. Maybe it is time that other nations did the same.


 Alexandra Mareschi


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