Hurdles in Eastern Europe Thwart Restitution Claims

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Seventy years have passed since members of the Thorsch family fled German-occupied Czech lands in 1939. They left behind a lucrative oil refinery business that was seized by the Nazis, nationalized after World War II and then taken over by the Communist government.

Marie and Alfons Thorsch in the mid-1930s before fleeing to Canada. Their granddaughter says Czech laws have stymied her attempts to get compensation for an oil refinery the Nazis seized.

Marie Warburg — granddaughter of Alfons and Marie Thorsch, who owned the Privoz refinery and escaped the Holocaust by emigrating to Canada — laments that her family has received no compensation for its loss. She says the Thorsches are blocked by a law under which only Czech citizens can qualify for restitution of businesses or homes.

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