From the Restitution Commissions to the Arbitration Panel

Recollecting Karl Wahle

Festive Event featuring a Discussion with a Contemporary Witness marking the tenth anniversary of the Arbitration Panel for In Rem Restitution and the publication of volume 4 of its decisions.

The current debate surrounding matters of restitution and compensation for victims of National Socialism has a long history. Between 1998 and 2003, the Historical Commission of the Republic of Austria investigated the broad and multifaceted subject of property seizure during the Nazi era and restitution and compensation since 1945. Over the last ten years, the Arbitration Panel for In Rem Restitution, established on the basis of the Washington Agreement, has also assessed the proceedings before the Restitution Commissions in the 1940s and 50s during the course of its work. While the case law in these restitution proceedings has, as such, been appraised in recent years, by comparison little is known of the judges involved.

The focus of this event, which took place to mark the 10th anniversary of the Arbitration Panel, was Francis Wahle's memories of his father Karl Wahle. Francis Wahle was able to flee to England on a Kindertransport in 1939. After the Anschluss in 1938 his Jewish father, at the time a judge at the Commercial Court, was suspended from duty and survived the National Socialist era with his wife underground in Austria as a so-called U-Boot. In 1949 the future President of the Supreme Court was appointed Member of the Supreme Restitution Commission. Among experts, Karl Wahle is considered the personality who shaped the style of this entity's case law. Today, his son Francis Wahle is a Catholic priest living in London.

Tuesday 11th October 2011, 6 pm

In the Aula on the campus of the University of Vienna, Hof 1.11
Spitalgasse 2–4, 1090 Vienna
General Map


    Programme/Invitation (PDF, 1.4 MB)
    Summary of the speeches
    Picture gallery


Hannah M. Lessing
Secretary General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria and of the General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism

Prof. DDr. Heinz Mayer
Deacon of the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna

Introductory words

Prof. Dr. Josef Aicher
Chairman of the Arbitration Panel for In Rem Restitution

Recollections of my father Karl Wahle

Francis Wahle

Comments on Karl Wahle

Prof. Dr. Franz-Stefan Meissel
University Professor of Roman Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna

Open floor discussion

With Heinz Mayer, Josef Aicher, Francis Wahle and Franz-Stefan Meissel, led by Hannah M. Lessing

Following the event a buffet was provided.


For further information on the event please contact