Oskar Deutsch, head of Vienna’s Jewish community, denied on Wednesday that the
community has lost its court case to retrieve archive documents.
that the dispute is slated to be litigated on November 1 in the Jerusalem
According to Deutsch’s statement to the media, “The
Jewish Community in Vienna [IKG] filed a lawsuit with the Jerusalem District
Court demanding to receive back to its possession historical documents which it
has loaned to the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish
He continued that “In the lawsuit, the IKG claims that it is the
sole owner of the documents/ archive and that it has, and has always had, the
right to terminate the loan and to receive the documents back to Vienna, as it
is the owners’ right, and his right alone, to decide what happens with his
In the course of the preliminary proceedings in the case, it
has been suggested by the Central Archive that the standpoint of Israel’s State
Archive on this matter be heard.
“Israel’s state archivist issued a
decision on Monday rejecting a legal challenge from Austria’s Jewish community
to transfer the archives of Vienna’s Jews from Israel to the Austrian
Dr. Ariel Muzicant, the former head of the 7,500-member Vienna
Jewish community, filed a lawsuit last year in the Jerusalem District Court
against the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem,
demanding that collection of Vienna Jewish documents between the 17th and 20th
centuries to be returned to the community’s headquarters.
Post reported on Tuesday that the court deferred to the state archive for a
legal opinion on the dispute.
The English-language blog of the Israel
State Archives wrote on Monday that, “the main findings of the decision [state
archivist] are that the collection was originally transferred as a permanent
Deutsch, from Vienna’s community, shot back that “Unsurprisingly,
and due to its interest in keeping the documents in Israel, the archive has
issued an opinion which ignores the substantiated evidence provided by the IKG
and wishes to grant the Central Archive the authority to keep documents which it
does not legally possess.
He added that, “Luckily, this matter will not,
and was never intended to, be resolved by the non-binding standpoint of the
State Archive, which is an interested party in this matter, but rather by the
The IKG believes that the State Archive’s position serves
to demonstrate how various organs of the State of Israel are working together to
illegally expropriate the documents from the IKG, and, in accordance with the
instructions of the court, will revert to the court with its response to the
State Archive’s standpoint.”