Vienna Jewish community denies losing case

Head of Vienna group says the case will only be decided after November court date in Jerusalem.

The Stadttempel in Vienna 370 (photo credit: Gryffindor / CC)
The Stadttempel in Vienna 370
(photo credit: Gryffindor / CC)
Oskar Deutsch, head of Vienna’s Jewish community, denied on Wednesday that the community has lost its court case to retrieve archive documents.
He said that the dispute is slated to be litigated on November 1 in the Jerusalem District Court.
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Community in Vienna [IKG] filed a lawsuit with the Jerusalem District Court demanding to receive back to its possession historical documents which it has loaned to the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People.”
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 property.”
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 capital.”
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.
The Jerusalem 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 loan.”
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 district court.
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.”