A Jewish journalist on Monday was jailed for one year on charges he defrauded the Austrian government by failing to list the name of an aunt on a restitution claim for a building stolen from his extended family by the Nazis.
According to prosecutors, Stephan Templ, the author of Unser Wien (Our Vienna), which cataloged sites around the city that had belonged to Jews, “damaged the Republic of Austria” by neglecting to list the name of his mother’s estranged sister Elisabeth Kretschmar on his claim.
They further alleged that had Kretschmar been made aware of the propert, she may have forfeited her share in favor of the government, The Guardian reported.
Writing on JNS.org, Holocaust historian Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, asserted that “there are grounds to fear that he [Templ] is being punished for exposing Austria’s failure to return seized property to its Jewish owners.”
Austria has famously failed to have come to terms with its Nazi past in the same way as Germany, and “since the day World War II ended, Austrians have claimed that they were not partners of the Nazis but actually “the first victims of Nazism,” Medoff wrote.