Germany ordered to pay restitution to Schocken family

Germany was ordered to pay the heirs of a Jewish department store chain nearly $68 million in restitution and interest for properties confiscated by the Nazis.

The ruling by a Berlin administrative court for the heirs of the Schocken family was announced on June 12, according to German news reports.

Before World War II, brothers Simon and Salman Schocken had opened numerous department stores, mostly in what later would be East Germany. The most well known was in  Chemnitz, in a building designed by architect Erich Mendelsohn. In 1938, the department stores were “aryanized,” or confiscated.

After German unification, the state paid the family about  $27 million in restitution for the Chemnitz building alone. It now houses the German state museum for archaeology.

Salman Schocken also founded Schocken Books in Berlin. He later moved the company to  the United States. — jta