After an attempt on Adolf Hitler’s life, Glenn Berwin’s family and their property was seized along with many other Jews in Munich.
Berwin’s uncle owned two restaurants and a shop there. They were seized along with his World War I veteran’s pension.
“It seemed hopeless” Berwin said in a statement Monday. “I thought the odds were insurmountable. You have to be clever to outsmart people who want to hold onto money they stole.”
Attorney Dan Holloran, a New York City Council candidate said he didn’t think the situation was so hopeless. Halloran , a partner at the law firm Palmieri and Castiglione, LLP, was determined to help.
“I wasn’t going to take “Ëœno’ for an answer” Halloran said. “Glenn has a right to this property. The Nazis never did.”
Halloran is pursuing a legal case to recover money taken from Berwin’s relatives who were killed or imprisoned by the Nazis. He used a federal court decision that accessed the record of World War I pensions.
“If we find specific names and time periods, we can get their pension records” Halloran said. “Courts have been throwing these cases out. I hope this will open the door for others with these kind of claims.”
Berwin, a retired supermarket employee who lives in Whitestone, Queens said he was friends with Halloran from the neighborhood.
“I knew him from karaoke on Bell Boulevard in the early “Ëœ90s” Berwin said, laughing. “He’s a great singer.”
According to a statement released by Holloran, Berwin’s father spent two months in Dachau in 1939 before he was granted immigration to the United States. He hopped on the “last boat leaving Holland.” His father was the only survivor on that side of the family. More than 20 members of Berwin’s family were killed in the Holocaust.
“Jewish people should know that they are entitled to pursue their legacy” said Berwin. “The legacy of my people should be with my family and not with the sons of people who commited crimes against them.”