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Court: Historian must apologise to Salm’s daughters

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Brno, Sept 26 (CTK) – The Constitutional Court (US) upheld the decision that Czech historian Eva Necasova must apologise to the daughters of late nobleman Hugo Salm-Reifferscheidt (1893-1946) for comparing their father to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Judge-Rapporteur Jaromir Jirsa said on Tuesday.

Necasova must also apologise for her statement that when Salm-Reifferscheidt declared that his nationality was German in 1939, the year of the Nazi occupation of the Czech territory, it was like a high treason.

“A professional researcher should refrain from making such statements,” Jirsa said.

He said such resolute criticism is not appropriate because Salm’s relation to Nazism and his then actions have been a point of controversy.

Salm lost his family property after World War Two based on the Benes Decrees that seized property of ethnic Germans, aside from those who actively joined anti-Nazi resistance.

Salm’s daughters sued Necasova for 15 statements she made in her two books about restitution cases in Bohemia and Moravia.

A regional court partly met the complaint of the daughters, but the appeals court rejected it. However, the Supreme Court returned the case to the appeals court for a new appraisal, which resulted in a partial acceptance of the Salm complaint again. The US rejected Necasova’s complaint against this verdict, making it final.

One of the daughters, Marie Salm-Reifferscheidt-Raitz, welcomed the US decision. “We did not expect it. We thought that the whole world was against us,” she told journalists.

Salm’s heirs argued in the past that Salm declared that his nationality was German only because he was under the Nazi pressure. This is of key importance for the decision whether Salm had Czech or German citizenship after World War Two and, consequently, whether his family has the right to claim the return of his property within the restitution law.

Salm’s heirs claim large property north of Brno, including Rajec nad Svitavou, a Classicist chateau in the French style, south Moravia, but Czech courts have rejected all their claims so far.

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