Berlin Jewish Community is Not Getting Back Its Property; 3,500,000 Marks “frozen”

The Jewish community in Berlin is fighting a hard battle to secure return of its property confiscated by the Nazis, which is still “bored” by the Berlin municipality, it was established here today by a correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agnecy.

While in the American-held zone in Germany steps have been taken to restore property of religious bodies to the owners, this principle has not been put into effect in Berlin where the Nazis seized many buildings belonging to the Jewish community, which were used in pre-war days as homes for aged, synagogues, orphanages, schools and for other Jewish social, educational and religious purposes.

At present the Jewish community here lacks shelters for the homeless and offices. But its repeated requests for the return of at least one of its properties have been met with the reply that the property belongs to the city. The Jewish community here also finds it difficult to draw upon its funds deposited in banks. These funds are reported to amount to 3,500,000 marks, but the accounts of the community are still “frozen” and the leaders of the community have been unable to draw upon this sum. Only once have they received any financial help, as an advance against the religious tax.

A provisional executive committee of the Berlin Jewish community is carrying on the work of reviving Jewish life in the city under the chairmanship of Erich Nelhans. Preparations for the elections of a new executive on a democratic basis are now being completed. The elections will take place within the next few weeks.

ONLY 6,000 JEWS RESIDE IN BERLIN; 800 ARE FROM POLAND

At present there are about 6,000 Jews in Berlin. They are made up of the following categories: 1,155 released from concentration camps; 1,050 who lived in Berlin illagally during the Nazi regime; about 2,000 who were married to non-Jews and therefore received some degree of preferential treatment although they had to wear the “Mogen David;” about 1,600 married to non-Jews, whose children were also raised as “Anyans” and who did not have to wear the “Mogen David”. The total includes also about 100 children, 14 years of age or younger, and about 800 non-German Jews, mostly of Polish origin. Before the Nazis came to power, there were about 200,000 Jews in Berlin, of whom about 30,000 emigrated. The remainder were deported and their fate remains unknown.

Deprived of their former homes and possessions, the Jews in Berlin are in great need of beds, blankets, mattresses and bedding. A request from the Jewish community council to the German city officials for these items was rejected. There is also a great need for clothing, shoes, overcoats and warm underwear. A number of Jewish children, orphaned by the Nazis, and now in a children’s home in the suburb of Pankow, go about barefooted, or must remain in bed because of lack of shoes.

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