Inter-party Parley to Discuss Restoration of Jewish Property Planned in Slovakia

In a letter today to Adalbert Winterstein president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Slovakia, co-Chairman Joseph Lettrich of the Slovak National Council, who is also chairman of the Democratic Party, revealed that he is prepared to convene an inter-party conference to draft a program for restoring confiscated Jewish property.

Lettrich said that he considered the claims of Slovak Jews for property restitution to be just and desired that a solution of the problem be reached as soon as possible. At the inter-party meeting, which would probably consist of representatives of the Democratic and Communist parties, which share control in Slovakia, Jewish spokesmen would be invited to present their demands, he added.

(The Bratislava newspaper Pravda, official organ of the Slovak Communist Party, in an issue which has just arrived in New York, says that the question of large agricultural estates confiscated from Jews by the Nazi puppet regime must be treated in line with the land reform laws adopted by the Government. It urges that since it has been decreed that a person may own only the amount of land which he or his family can cultivate themselves, Jews should be allowed to repossess as much of their former property as they can now work, and should be compensated for all other holdings, which should be divided among the peasantry. Jewish estates which have already been parceled out among peasants should remain the property of the new owners, the paper says, but the former owners should be paid an officially prescribed price.)

Slovak Jews are encountering other difficulties besides that of recovering their property. Under present Czechoslovak law, a “political reliability” certificate is needed by those applying for citizenship and other legal documents. Jews who assert that they always were of Slovak nationality are forced to prove that they so indicated in both the census of 1938 and that of 1930. Even if they can do so, but if they listed Hungarian or German as their mother tongue, they are considered of German or Hungarian nationality.

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