French Government Prepares Decree on Return of Jewish Property Purchased by Frenchmen

A new decree which will clarify the question of the return to Jews of property acquired by non-Jews during the German occupation of France will be promulgated by the government within a few days, the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned here today.

Two decrees dealing with the restoration of Jewish property have already been issued by the government. They provide chiefly for the restoration of property which was under the control of government administrators. With regard to property of Jews purchased by Frenchmen during the occupation, efforts are being made by the purchasers to prevent its return. They are supported by the Catholic organ, “Temoignages Chretiens.” which published a special article urging the Jews “to be discreet and modest” and to be content with indemnities such as those paid to war victims, instead of insisting on the return of their businesses and property.

The French purchasers opposing the return of Jewish property are represented by a newly formed organization which is called the Association Nationale Intercorporative du Commerce, de l’Industrie at de l’Artisanat. The organization claims that it has 4,000 members most of whom are now in possession of Jewish stores. Actually, the office of this high-sounding body consists of nothing but a desk on the second floor of a dress house which formerly belonged to a Jew and was taken over by a Frenchman, who is now financing a campaign against “foreign” ownership of French business enterprises by Jews.

FRENCH COURTS APPOINT TEMPORARY ADMINISTRATORS FOR DISPUTED FIRMS

The Association, which was formed only six weeks ago and was incorporated about three weeks ago, is headed by Simeon Charnul, owner of a furniture business which formerly belonged to a Jew. Occupants of Jewish apartments and operators of firms which formerly belonged to Jews come to Charnul for legal advice, and upon payment of a fee are aided. Charnul claims that his organization represents the non-Jewish purchasers before court referees wherever former Jewish owners contest the ownership of the enterprises. There have been cases where the referees named temporary administrators for the disputed businesses until legislation is promulgated settling the issue.

Meanwhile, the Association issued a manifesto in behalf of “war widows, wives of war-prisoners, escaped prisoners, war veterans and war evacuees,”-who, according to Charnul, form the great majority of purchasers of Jewish business – containing anti-Jewish allegations and charging Jews in France with debasing the reputation of French goods “by Jewish methods” and with “profiting from the traditional hospitality of our country to increase the immigration of their coreligionist and exploit illegal residence.”

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