IV. “Aryanization” in 1940 and Again in 1951 – Stolen Not Just Once but Twice

The Nestroyhof is among several formerly Jewish-owned properties that were acquired by the family known as “Polsterer” through “Aryanization” – mainly between the years 1939 and 1942. It is also one of the stolen properties that the immediate descendents of the Polsterer family continue to reap profits from today. Unlike most of the tens of thousands of architectural objects that changed hands through the close cooperation of Viennese “Aryans” with their Nazi benefactors, and that have never been returned to their rightful owners, the Nestroyhof bears the relatively uncommon distinction of having been “Aryanized” a second time by the Polsterers (with the cooperation of public officials) in “post-Nazi” Austria in the year 1951.

In November 1950, an official legal judgment against the Polsterer family ruled that the Nestroyhof was a stolen property that had to be returned to the rightful heirs of its deceased former owner and victim of Nazi persecution, Anna Stein.¹ The significance of the 1950 judgment is conspicuous, especially when one considers how difficult it was (and always has been) for a claimant to win a case against the beneficiaries of Austrian “Aryanization”.

But the Polsterer family and court authorities prevented the material fulfillment of the 1950 judgment, and the children of Anna Stein – Aranka Rosenzweig, Melanie Arend, Leontine Goldschmidt, and Michael Goldschmidt – never actually secured possession of the property, despite the court ruling in their favor. Instead, in July 1951, the rightful heirs were persuaded to allow the Polsterers to keep their plunder. To make the outcome “legal,” the heirs received an indemnity payment in the amount of 3,500 Austrian Schillings (as low as 0.5% of the value of the building in 1951).

The above information is supported by official documentation.

The Jewish Theater of Austria seeks any information relating to Anna Stein, her heirs, and their immediate descendents. If you think you can be of help, please contact us at office@jta.at.

Go to Part V
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