Thursday, 24 April 2014

U.S. lawyer Edward Fagan sues state over Shoah Legacy Institute

29 November 2012

Prague, Nov 28 (CTK) - U.S. lawyer Edward Fagan has brought a lawsuit against the Czech Republic, its Foreign Ministry and the European Shoah Legacy Institute seated on Czech territory since he is not satisfied with its work, he told CTK yesterday.

Fagan, who is attending the conference in Prague on possibilities of returning the property confiscated during the Holocaust, said he would turn to the Florida Federal Court in Palm Beach with his civilian lawsuit.

The institute's concept was good, but its intentions have not been fulfilled and it does not seem to be changed soon, said Fagan, who filed some other legal complaints concerning the Czech Republic in the past.

He added he would not demand any financial compensation via the lawsuit.

The court verdict could make the institute start fulfilling its goals, or the United States might stop subsidising it in reaction to the verdict, Fagan said.

Doubts about the meaningfulness of the European Shoah Legacy Institute emerged again before the conference that ends yesterday.

Tomas Jelinek, from the Jewish Papers, said he had a feeling that the institute had done nothing special during its existence.

Institute director Jaroslav Sonka dismissed the criticism.

The European Shoah Legacy Institute, seated in the Czech Republic, was established in January 2010 on the basis of the Terezin Declaration signed by EU representatives in 2009, during the six-month Czech EU presidency.

The institute is to serve as a forum of states and organisations representing the Holocaust victims and helps them in their search for confiscated property.

Last February, U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Douglas Davidson told CTK that the activities of the European Shoah Legacy Institute did not seem very visible.

The United States in the past promised to subsidise the institute's work with $750,000.

The institute was founded by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs that annually earmarks eight million crowns for its work.

Fagan won fame in a media campaign in the 1990s when he was fighting for the compensation of Jewish inmates in Nazi concentration camps for forced labour in Austria and Germany.

He was then involved in the aid to Austrian opponents of the Czech Temelin nuclear power plant, South Bohemia, but he withdrew from the case eventually.

Last December, Fagan brought an action against the Czech Republic and some persons over the bonds of the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, and the alleged discrimination against their owners with a court in Florida.

($1=19.529 crowns)

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