Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kafka Lives!

A bizarre legal case reminds us that Austria is not thrilled about being reminded of its Nazi past. It's pretty hard to imagine any other explanation for the charges in this case - at least if the story William D. Cohan tells has it right.

Stephan Templ, a longtime critic of Austria’s role in the confiscation of art and real estate from Viennese Jews during World War II, faces a three-year prison sentence in his native country under circumstances that can only be described as Kafkaesque.

As nearly as I can tell, his crime was filing a claim on behalf of his mother for a share of the stolen estate of his mother's relatives. His purported crime was defrauding the Austrian State by failing to file claims on behalf of some other relative who in theory might have renounced her claim in favor of the State (but said she wouldn't).

I'm curious as to whether there is anything more rational going on here.