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translation by Gerda Johannsen.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Appendix 15
Decree of President Dr. Benes of October 25, 1945
concerning the confiscation of enemy property
and the Funds of National Renovation
(Decree No. 42)


With regard to the proposal of the Government and in accordance with the Agreement with the Slovak National Council, I decree:

Part I

Confiscation of Enemy Property

§ 1

Extent of the Property Confiscated

1. Any immovable and movable property shall be confiscated without any compensation, to the benefit of the Czechoslovak Republic, and to the extent that this has not been effectuated until now, in particular property rights (as claims, securities, immaterial rights) which on the day of the factual termination of the German and Hungarian occupation was owned or which is still owned:
(1) by the German Reich, the Kingdom of Hungary, by juristic persons incorporated under the public laws of Germany or Hungary, by the German National Socialist Party, by the Magyar political parties and other groups, organizations, enterprises, institutions, associations, funds and property of these regimes or connected therewith, as well as of other German or Magyar juristic persons, or
(2) by natural persons of German or Magyar nationality with the exception of persons who prove that they adhered faithfully to the Czechoslovak Republic, that they never committed any offense against the Czech and Slovak people and that they either participated actively in the combat for their liberation, or suffered under the National Socialist or fascist terror, or
(3) by natural persons who have displayed activities directed against the sovereignty, the independence, the integrity, the democratic-republican system, the security and defense of the Czechoslovak Republic, who have instigated such activities or have solicited other persons to carry on such activities, who, by any manner, have intentionally supported the German or Magyar occupants or during the period of the increased threat to the Republic (§ 18 of the Edict of the President of the Republic, dated June 19, 1945, Compilation of Statutes and Enactments No. 16, Concerning the Punishment of National Socialist Criminals, Traitors and Their Accomplices, and Concerning the Special People's Courts) have favored the Germanization or Magyarization within the territory of the Czechoslovak Republic or who have taken a hostile position against the Czechoslovak Republic or against the Czech or Slovak people, as well as by persons who have tolerated such activities by persons who have administered their property or enterprises.

2. The provisions of Subsection 1, No. 3 apply also to juristic persons to the extent that natural persons who are members thereof or share in the property or the enterprise (shareholders) are responsible for the steps taken by the board representing the juristic person or that these persons have failed to use the appropriate diligence in the selection and supervision of the board.

3. Likewise subject to confiscation is any property which during the period subsequent to September 29, 1938 has been owned by persons mentioned in Subsections 1 and 2 and which during the time set forth in Subsection 1 Sentence 1 has been owned or is still owned by persons in the possession of whom it would not be subject to confiscation unless the inclusion of such property in the confiscation would not comply with the principles of equity.

4. The competent District National Committee shall determine whether or not the prerequisites of the confiscation under this Edict exist. The decision can be served by publication, even if the prerequisites of § 33 of the Government Ordinance dated January 13, 1928, Comp. No. 8, concerning the procedure in matters which do not fall within the competence of political authorities (administrative procedures), are not complied with. An appeal can be filed against the decision of the District National Committee with the Provincial Committee, in Slovakia with the competent authority of the Slovak National Council. The Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia the competent authority of the Slovak National Council) may - even in the course of the proceeding - assume the carrying out of the procedure and decide the matter as the first instance. If the Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia the competent authority of the Slovak National Council) decides in this manner as first instance, an appeal may be filed against its decision with the Ministry of the Interior. The Minister of the Interior is authorized to prescribe the manner in which a decision shall be rendered in accordance with this subsection.

§ 2

Exemptions from Confiscation and the Granting of Compensation

1. That part of the movable property owned by persons listed in § 1 Subsection 1, Nos. 2 and 3 which is indispensably necessary to cover the livelihood or to carry on the occupation of such persons and the members of the family thereof, as clothing, featherbeds, linen, household furniture, food, and tools is exempted from the confiscation. Particulars concerning the extent of such property shall be prescribed by the Government by ordinance.

2. The Government may prescribe by ordinance that the property of a particular category of persons falling under the provisions of § 1 shall be exempted in whole or in part from the confiscation.

3. Property which has been lost by persons not covered by the provisions of § 1 during the time after September 29, 1938 by reason of the pressure of the occupation or in consequence of the national, racial or political persecution is not subject to confiscation.

4. In the case of confiscation of property owned by a juristic person, persons who hold shares of stock shall be entitled to a proportional compensation, provided that they are not subject to the provisions of § 1 Subsections 1 and 2. Particulars shall be prescribed by the Government by ordinance.

5. If persons whose property is subject to confiscation share in the ownership with persons who are not subject to the provisions of § 1, and their share should exceed one half of the total, then the entire property is subject to confiscation. Persons who are not subject to § 1 are entitled to be compensated by delivery of items of the same kind and the same value as their share, and if this should not be possible they shall be compensated in money.


Part II

Fund of National Regeneration

§ 3

Establishment and Organization of the Funds of National Regeneration

1. To facilitate the temporary administration of the property confiscated and the tasks connected with its disposition, a Fund of National Regeneration (hereafter referred to only as "Fund") shall be established with every settlement office. This Fund shall be an independent legal entity. To the extent that the charter of the Fund (Subsection 7) does not provide otherwise, it is represented by the Procuratory for Finances.

2. The Fund is controlled by a president who shall be appointed by the government with regard to the proposal of the Minister of the Interior after hearing the president of the settlement office. The president represents the Fund. In his absence he shall be substituted by the vice principal of the Fund, who will be appointed by the Government by proposition of the president of the Fund and after hearing the president of the settlement office.

3. The Fund of National Regeneration is controlled by the settlement office with which it has been established. The president of the settlement office and his deputy together with the president and the vice president of the Fund shall form a council which shall determine the manner in which the respective settlement office and the Fund attached thereto shall operate. Decisions of the council require a majority of more than one half of the votes. In case that the votes are equal, the Central Commission for Interior Colonisation shall decide.

4. The agenda are taken care of by the employees of the respective settlement offices who insofar are subject to the directions of the president of the Fund.

5. The money upon which the Funds are based shall consist of advance payments out of governmental means, further of deposits and claims due confiscated by virtue of this Edict, and of the compensations eventually received for the properties allotted.

6. The Funds shall not be required to make any payments for the performance of official acts.

7. The charters of the Funds and the standing orders governing them shall be prescribed by the Government by ordinance upon application of the Central Commission for Interior Colonisation.

§ 4

The Permanent Advisory Board and Economic Control

1. A Permanent Advisory Board shall be established with every Fund. Representatives shall be delegated to the Permanent Advisory Board which shall be established with the Fund in the settlement office in Prague by the Ministries of the Interior, of Finance, for National Defense, for Education and Culture, of Justice, for Industry, for Agriculture, for Interior Trade, for Traffic, for Labor Protection and Social Welfare, for Health and Food, as well as by the Economic Council. The representatives of the delegate of the Slovak National Council as well as a representative of the Economic Council are members of the Permanent Advisory Board which shall be established with the Fund in the settlement office at Preßburg (Bratislava). The Central Commission for Interior Colonisation shall determine the functions of the Permanent Advisory Board and shall enact the bylaws for it.

2. The economic administration of the Funds is subject to the control of the Ministry of Finance and of the highest comptroller's office. Any disposition of means belonging to the Funds, to which the representative of the Ministry of Finance (in Slovakia, the delegate for finances of the Slovak National Council) objects, shall not be effected before the conflict has been settled in negotiations among the respective ministries and, in case this should prove to be unsuccessful, has been terminated by a decision of the Government.

§ 5

Operational Scope of the Funds

1. In particular, the Funds are competent:
(1) to record the property confiscated by virtue of this Edict. The District National Committees must record any property confiscated by virtue of this Edict within their districts and must submit such records to the competent district office of the settlement office as well as to the competent Fund. The evidence necessary for such recording shall be submitted by the Local National Committees. Everyone who possesses, administers, or retains property confiscated must declare such property for recording upon request of the District National Committee and must take proper care of such property as long as the Funds entrusted therewith or the public authority does not dispose otherwise;
(2) in agreement with the competent National Committees and the Ministries and through them to take such actions as are necessary for the taking under control, assumption, deposition, preservation and administration of this property, if that has not been done already. The regulations governing such actions shall be enacted by the settlement office upon consent of the Funds. Upon request of the Fund the competent court will order entries to be made in the public files and registers indicating the confiscation;
(3) to record and to satisfy claims against property confiscated in compliance with the regulations which will be enacted by the Government by ordinance; the Government shall not be liable for any claim which has not been satisfied hereunder;
(4) to effectuate the transfer of the property confiscated by reason of the basic plans (§ 6 Subsection 1) and of the final allotment decree (§ 8 Subsection 6);
(5) to negotiate loans for the receivers of allotments in accordance with regulations enacted by the Central Commission for Interior Colonization.

2. The Fund has the right to supervise the economic management of the national custodians and to request the competent authorities to cancel their appointment and to apply for their appointment.


Part III

Distribution of the Property Confiscated

Section 1

Basic Plans and Allotment Decrees

§ 6

1. The settlement office, with the consent of the competent ministries and of the Economic Council (in Slovakia with the consent of the competent delegate of the Slovak National Council) and after hearing the competent economic associations (in Slovakia the competent economic organisations) and the Central Council of Business Associations (in Slovakia the Center of Business Associations) shall establish basic plans in which it shall be defined in particular:
a) how many small properties shall be allotted at the particular localities and how the remainder shall be disposed of;
b) what properties of medium size shall be allotted and how the remainder shall be disposed of,
c) how industrial property and other large properties shall be disposed of.

2. In the manner set forth in the foregoing subsection, the settlement offices prepare propositions for particular allotment decrees according to the nature of the property confiscated which is subject to distribution, and determine therein the characteristics to be followed in order to distinguish properties of small, medium and large size, the qualifications to be possessed by persons to whom property of the aforementioned category is allotted, the rules to be followed in determining the amount of the compensation and payment thereof by the person to whom property has been allotted, the terms and conditions upon which an allotment can be secured or the property allotted can be taken away, and how the property shall be disposed of. Upon these factors the Government will render the particular allotment decrees. Competent for the carrying out of these decrees is the settlement office, which may carry them out gradually according to the extent and the nature of the property allotted.

3. On the basis of the basic plans (Subsection 1) and the allotment decrees (Subsection 2), the allotment and compensation plans (§§ 10 to 12) shall be drawn up. It shall be the object of the settlement office to examine whether the allotment and compensation plans comply with these prerequisites, in which case they will approve them. Allotments which are contrary to the basic plans or the allotment decrees will be eliminated from the allotment and compensation plans by the settlement office. As long as the plans have not been approved by the settlement office from this perspective, the final approval or correction of the allotment and compensation plan cannot be effectuated by the competent authority.

4. An allotment which is contrary to the basic plan, to the particular allotment decree, or to the allotment and compensation plans approved or corrected in the appropriate manner (§ 10 Subsection 3), shall be invalid. The Fund may cause the reversal of the invalid allotment decree by the superior authorities and, if it is an allotment decree by the Ministry, by the Central Commission for Interior Colonisation within a period of 6 months as from the time of the delivery of the final allotment decree (§ 8 Subsection 6).


Section 2

Allotment Procedure

§ 7

Qualifications of Applicant

1. Individual assets will be allotted (§ 8) against compensation to qualified applicants, who shall acquire ownership thereby, from the property confiscated by virtue of this Edict.

2. Assets may be allotted to provinces, districts, communities, and other public corporations, in particular to corporations (§ 6 Subsection 2).

3. In allotting property confiscated, the following persons shall be given particular consideration: participants in the national resistance and their surviving relatives, persons who suffered damage by reason of the war and by reason of the national, racial or political persecution, persons who returned to the territory near the border which they had had to leave or who returned to their homeland from abroad and persons who took residence in the remaining territory of the Czechoslovak Republic as consequence of the annexation. The prerequisites of this privileged status must be properly proved.

§ 8

Allotment Decree

1. By view of the final allotment plans (§§ 10 to 12) the small properties are allotted by the District National Committee, the medium-sized properties by the Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia, by the competent authority of the Slovak National Council), industrial property and the large properties by the competent Ministry (in Slovakia, with the consent of the competent delegate of the Slovak National Council).

2. The allotment decree shall show:
a) the items comprising the property allotted,
b) the rights and privileges connected with the allotment,
c) the obligations to be assumed by the allotment receiver,
d) the date on which the property allotted is transferred,
e) the amount of compensation (the price of acquisition) and the manner of payment thereof,
f) possible restrictions imposed upon the allotment receiver or other conditions imposed upon him.

3. The allotment receiver shall not be liable for obligations accrued to the property allotted to him, provided that they have not been assumed by him after receiving the allotment decree.

4. An applicant who deems himself damaged by virtue of the District National Committee's allotment decree has the right to file an appeal with the Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia, with the competent authority of the Slovak National Council). The final decision on appeal is rendered by the Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia, by the competent authority of the Slovak National Council).

5. An applicant who deems himself damaged by virtue of the allotment decree of the Provincial National Committee (or of the competent authority of the Slovak National Council) has the right to file an appeal with the competent Ministry.

6. The authority which has decided on the allotment forwards the allotment decree which has become res judicata to the competent Fund which carries out the transfer of the property allotted.

§ 9

Allotment Commission

1. Upon request of the settlement office the Local National Committee in the district of which the property confiscated is located, calls by publication in the manner usual in the locality and by publication in the Official Gazette of the settlement office, for persons interested in allotments to file applications. The applications shall be filed with the Local National Committee. From these applicants who comply with the conditions for allotment (§ 6 Subsection 2) as well as from the members of the Local National Committee who are not applicants, the Local National Committee appoints the local allotment commission which shall consist of at least 3 and not more than 10 members of whom the applicants shall not have the majority. Membership in such local allotment commissions is a honorary position. The Local National Committee may cancel the appointment of the members of the commission at any time. The president of the local allotment commission is elected by the Local National Committee from among its members. In communities with a population not exceeding 10,000 persons, the Local National Committee also appoints representatives of the economic associations (in Slovakia of the appropriate economic organisations) and of the Central Council of Business Associations (in Slovakia of the Center of Business Associations) as members of the local allotment commission. If the appointment of a member is rescinded or his membership ceases for another reason, a new member shall be elected from the same group from which the member to be replaced came. In the case of gradual carrying-out of the allotment decree (§ 6 Subsection 2, last sentence) different allotment commissions may be appointed for the individual kinds of property.

2. Upon request of the settlement office the District National Committee in the district of which the property confiscated is located, calls by publication in the manner usual in the district and by publication in the Official Gazette of the settlement office, for persons interested to file applications. The applications shall be filed with the District National Committee. From the applicants complying with the conditions for allotment (§ 6 Subsection 2) and from the representatives of the District National Committee, from the economic associations (in Slovakia, from the appropriate economic organizations) and from the Central Council of Business Associations (in Slovakia, the Center of Business Associations) the District National Committee appoints an allotment commission which shall consist of not more than 10 members among whom applicants for allotment shall not have the majority. To the members of the district allotment commission the provisions concerning the members of local allotment commissions apply mutatis mutandis. The president of the district allotment commission is elected by the District National Committee from amongst its members.

3. The appointment of members of the local allotment commission shall be checked and approved by the District National Committee, the appointment of members of the district allotment commission shall be checked and approved by the Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia by the competent authority of the Slovak National Council).

4. The settlement office prescribes the rules governing the structure, the organization and the activities of the local and district allotment commissions and prescribes the bylaws for them.

§ 10

1. The local allotment commission sets up an allotment plan for the small properties designated for allotment within the district of the Local National Committee together with an estimate of the compensation to be claimed for the property allotted. It shall make available the plan for public inspection in the premises of the Local National Committee for a period of 15 days and at the same time shall call attention to the opportunity for such public inspection by notice which shall appear on the official board of the Local National Committee as well as in the Official Gazette of the settlement office on the first day of its exhibition, together with an instruction concerning the objections which may be raised thereto. Any Czechoslovak citizen more than 18 years old has the right to raise objections to such allotment plan and to the compensation proposed with the local allotment commission within a period of 16 days, such period commencing on the last day the plan is exhibited. After expiration of the period for objections the local allotment commission submits the allotment plan together with the proposed compensation and the objections filed with its statements thereto to the district allotment commission for examination. At the same time it forwards a copy of the allotment plan and of the compensation proposed to the settlement office (§ 6 Subsection 3), to the tax administration and to the District National Committee (Subsection 2).

2. The district allotment commission examines the allotment plans and compensation proposals with due regard to the objections raised. It will request statements by the tax administration, by the technical authorities and by the price stabilization authorities of the competent District National Committee to the question whether the compensations proposed in the plans are appropriate and will notify them of the time that hearings on the individual allotment plan will be held in order to enable them to participate in such hearings.

3. The allotment and compensation plan for the small properties shall be the basis for the allotment, as soon as it has been approved or adjusted, if necessary, by the district allotment commission upon consideration of the position taken by the settlement office (§ 6 Subsection 3).

§ 11

The Allotment Plans for Medium-Sized Properties

1. The district allotment commission sets up an allotment plan for the medium-sized properties designated for allotment within the area of the District National Committee together with a proposition concerning the compensation to be claimed for the property allotted. It shall make available the plan for public inspection in the premises of the District National Committee for a period of 15 days and at the same time shall call attention to the opportunity of such public inspection by notice which shall appear on the official board of the District National Committee as well as in the Official Gazette of the settlement office on the first day of its exhibition, together with an instruction concerning the objections which may be raised thereto. Any Czechoslovak citizen more than 18 years old has the right to raise objections to such allotment plan and compensation proposition with the district allotment commission within a period of 15 days, such period commencing on the last day the plan is exhibited. After expiration of the period for objections the district allotment commission submits the allotment plan together with the compensation proposal and the objections filed with its statement thereto, to the Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia, to the competent authority of the Slovak National Council) for examination. At the same time it forwards a copy of the allotment plan and of the compensation proposal to the settlement office (§ 6 Subsection 3), to the tax administration and to the District National Committee (Subsection 2).

2. The Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia, the competent authority of the Slovak National Council) requests statements by the tax administration and by the technical as well as price stabilization authorities of the competent District National Committee on the question whether such compensations are appropriate, and notifies them of the time the hearing on the individual allotment plan will be held in order to enable them to participate in such hearings. It examines the allotment plans and compensation proposals submitted with due regard to the objections raised and to the statements of the tax administration and of the technical authorities of the District National Committees, having the power to modify such plans if important public, particularly national interests require it.

3. The allotment and compensation plan for the medium-sized properties shall be the basis for the allotment after it has been approved or adjusted, if necessary, by the Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia, by the competent authority of the Slovak National Council) upon consideration of the position taken by the settlement office (§ 6 Subsection 3).

§ 12

The Allotment Plans for Industrial and Large Properties

1. The Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia, the competent authority of the Slovak National Council) sets up an allotment plan for the industrial property and the large properties designated for allotment within its area together with a proposition of the compensation to be claimed for the property allotted. The plans shall be published in the Official Gazette of the settlement office. Any Czechoslovak citizen more than 18 years old has the right to raise objections to such allotment plan and compensation proposal with the Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia, with the competent authority of the Slovak National Council) within a period of 15 days, such period commencing on the date of the publication of the plan. After expiration of the period for objections the Provincial National Committee (in Slovakia, the competent authority of the Slovak National Council) submits the allotment plan together with the compensation proposal, the objections filed and its own statements thereto to the competent Ministry for examination. At the same time it forwards a copy of the allotment plan and of the compensation proposal to the settlement office (§ 6 Subsection 3), to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry for Traffic (Subsection 2) and to the highest price stabilization authority.

2. The Ministry (in Slovakia, with the agreement of the competent delegate of the Slovak National Council) examines the allotment plan and compensation proposal submitted with due regard to the objections and to the statements of the Ministry of Finances and the Ministry of Traffic (public technical administration) as well as to the statements of the highest price stabilization authority which have been requested for the compensation proposal.

3. The allotment and compensation plan for industrial and large properties shall be the basis for the allotment after it has been approved and adjusted, if necessary, by the Ministry (in Slovakia, with the agreement of the competent delegate of the Slovak National Council) upon consideration of the position taken by the settlement office (§ 6 Subsection 3).

§ 13

Disposition of the Property Allotted

The property allotted in accordance with § 8 may be disposed of, leased or mortgaged only after expiration of the period fixed in the individual allotment decrees. During this period this may be done only with the permission of the Fund.

§ 14

Payment and its Appropriation

1. The compensation (allotment price) shall be paid by the allotment receivers to the competent Fund in accordance with the allotment decree. On the basis of a certificate issued by the Fund concerning arrears in payment of the compensation, action may be taken either through administrative channels or by a court order.

2. These compensations shall be used for the payment of the obligations resting upon the property confiscated, if these have been acknowledged when the balance was made (§ 5 Subsection 1 No. 3) and if they have not been assumed by the allotment receiver; the remaining amount shall accrue to the treasury of the Government for the purposes designated.


Part IV

General and Final Provisions

§ 15

Procedure before the Funds

Government Ordinance Comp. No. 6/1928 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the procedure before the Funds.

§ 16

Transfer of Real Property and of Registered Rights to the Government

The transfer to the Czechoslovak Government of real property and of registered rights which have not been allotted to other persons shall be registered in the public registers by the courts administering the public land registers upon application of the competent Fund and, if property listed in § 18 is involved, upon application of the Health Ministry with reference to this Edict.

§ 17

Scope of this Edict with Respect to Rural Property

This Edict does not refer to such rural property as confiscated in accordance with the Edict of the President of the Republic, dated June 21, 1945, Comp. No. 12, concerning the confiscation and expedited allotment of rural property of Germans, Magyars, as well as of traitors and enemies of the Czech and Slovak people, and confiscated in accordance with the corresponding provisions applicable in Slovakia.

§ 18

Scope of this Edict with Respect to Property of Health Resorts
and of Cure and Treatment Institutions

1. The provisions of parts II and III shall not apply to:

1. cure and treatment institutions,
2. to the following property of health resorts:
      a) real estate with springs of natural health or mineral waters, cure gases and emanations, or with deposits of medicinal mud, moor, peat, or other kinds of soil,
      b) real estate, enterprises and institutions which serve or are necessary to utilize the natural health springs or mineral waters,
      c) the equipment of health resorts,
      d) cure lodging enterprises which are primarily used by patients or are designated to be used by them or which are part of the equipment of the health resort,
      e) auxiliary institutions of the facilities and enterprises listed under b) to d),
      f) all accessories of the enterprises and the equipment listed under b) to d) as well as all property used in their operation.

2. The Minister for Public Health (in Slovakia, the competent authority in the Slovak National Council) will determine the property which shall be covered by the provisions of Subsection 1.

3. The manner in which the property referred to in Subsection 2 shall be disposed of shall be determined by special provisions.

§ 19

Penalties

1. Who knowingly violates any provisions of this Edict or of the ordinances enacted thereunder, or who participates in activities which tend to interfere with the confiscation or the proper allotment of the property confiscated shall - notwithstanding a criminal court procedure - be punished by the District National Committee by a fine not to exceed 100,000 Kcs or by imprisonment in a prison for a period not to exceed one year, or by both of these penalties. In default of payment of the fine imposed, the convicted persons shall undergo a prison term not exceeding one year which shall be determined according to the nature of the wrong done by him.

2. The prosecution of the offenses listed above shall be barred after the expiration of a period of 3 years.

§ 20

Cooperation of Public Organs and Authorities

All public authorities have the duty to co-operate upon request with the Funds of the National Renovation and to support them actively in the carrying out of their functions.

§ 21

This Edict shall become effective on the date of its publication. It will be carried out by all members of the Government.


[sgd.:]

Dr. Beneš Fierlinger
David, Gottwald, Siroký, Dr. Srámek, Ursíny, Masaryk, General Svoboda, Dr. Ripka, Nosek, Dr. Srobár, Dr. Nejedlý, Dr. Stránský, Kopecký, Lausman, Duris, Dr. Pietor, General Hasal, Hála, Dr. Soltész, Dr. Procházka, Majer, Dr. Clementis, General Dr. Ferjencik, Lichner


(The Edict was promulgated on October 30, 1945.)


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Survivors speak out