Gresk Government Wants to Restore Confiscated Property to Jews, but Few Left to Claim It

Although the Greek Government announced this week its readiness to rescind the law under which Jewish property was confiscated during the German occupation, the problem of restoration is not acute at present in Salonica for the simple reason that there are very few Jews left in this city which had a Jewish population of about 60,000 before the outbreak of the war.

The correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was told today by Jewish legders here that before the war the property owned by Jews in Salonica was valued at about twenty-five million dollars. It is nowhere near that sum now. The Nazis drained off all liquid assets, emptied stores and warehouses and damaged all Jewish houses.

The problem of restitution can become difficult, however, if even only a few thousand Jews eventually return to claim their property, it is indicated by the complications enccuntered in the few cases that have been brought up so far. In an attempt to solve the present problem, the Governor-General of Macedonia has ordered that all Jewish property must be returned inmediately to its rightful owner as soon as he appears. If the owner does not return, the property must be handed over to his son, daughter, brother or sister should they return and claim it.

A lengthy editorial in a Salonica newspaper this week urged the government not only to restore all Jewish property to the rightful owners, but to punish those Greeks who accepted and used such property during the German occupation. “This is a question of the nation’s honor,” the paper said.

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