A Mercedes car worth $4 million, which was taken by US soldiers during World War II, was reclaimed by the grandchildren of a German industrialist.
Hans Prym, a manufacturer of zips, buttons and other clothing fasteners, bought the car in 1935 and kept it in Stolberg, near the Belgian border. Yesterday, May 30th, the Hamburg regional court ruled that there was no evidence that that the US soldiers took the Mercedes-Benz 500K “Spezial Roadster”. In 2011 Frans van Haren, a Dutch classic car collector paid $3.8 million for the car at RM Auctions in Monterey, California. He tried to sell it in March this year at Techno Classica, but it was impounded under court order.
“The court has recognized our claim is valid and we will prepare the next stage and file suit for the car’s return,” said Alexander Martius of Stein & Partner Rechtsanwaelte in Aachen, the lawyer who represented the heirs in court. “We think the decision is right and it’s an important step toward restitution. I am extraordinarily happy for the Prym family.”
The car is in perfect condition, and may be one of only 29 pieces of its type left. The Mercedes disappeared in 1945, when Prym was imprisoned by the Allies. The US troops used his estate as a base at the beginning of the march into Germany.