BROOKLYN (CN) – In a federal complaint with something to offend just about everyone, an 85-year-old woman claims the Federal of Republic of Germany demanded decades of fees and taxes on a family estate the Gestapo seized from her family in 1938, allowed “vandals, vagrants and homeless aliens” to do 4 million Euros worth of damage to it, let the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany claim it under a “malodorous” agreement, also let the City of Schwerin wrongly claim title to it, and that the city did not relinquish its title claim until the Conference of Jewish Claims agreed to drop its claim too, “thereby demonstrating to Germany, if not the whole world, just who is really in charge in Germany to matters relating to the Holocaust.”
Gabriele Hammerstein, now of New York, claims Germany’s treatment of her family property violates the reunited country’s May 13, 1992 deal with the United States: the “Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany Concerning the Settlement of Certain Property Claims.
The property at issue, once known as the Schlosspark Sanatorium, surrounds a 1,200-year-old “Fairytale Castle,” the complaint states. Hammerstein says the Gestapo used it as a prison and torture center, and that after WWII, when it became part of East Germany, the Stasi used its attic to wiretap and snoop upon Schwerin and its environs. She says that the reunited Germany allowed vandals to ruin the place and despoil it with Nazi, communist and “satanic” graffiti, and wrongfully charged her taxes and fees for years as though she still possessed it.
Hammerstein apparently blames Schwerin’s former city officials for much of the damage. The complaint describes them as “hard nosed Communists … subjected to 40 long years of brain-washing and Communist indoctrinations … (who) did not welcome with open arms, much less relish the prospect of having to turn over the major private property in the City of Schwerin, under historic Landmark Protection, to an American, a woman, and a Jew – in whatever order you like!”
She demands $8 million in damages. She is represented by Alfonso Ramos.