Austrian Jews Protest Proposed Government Plan for Allocation of Reparations

The Jewish community here is preparing a program for restitution of Jewish property which it plans to present to the Government shortly. This move was necessitated by the proposed Government compensation law which, according to Jewish leaders, would work undue hardship upon the Jewish survivors in Austria and abroad.

Despite official assurances by Chancellor Leopold Figl that all former concentration camp victims in Austria would be treated alike, the Government has disclosed that it proposes to set up categories among the victims of Nazism and to compensate them differently for losses sustained during the Nazi regime. The Government would give priority to political prisoners and those jailed while carrying on activity in opposition to the Nazis. Under such a law most of the surviving Jews might not be compensated for their seized property Although many of them spent many years in concentration camps.

Akim Lewit, head of the organization of former concentration camp prisoners, has proposed that a commission representing all organizations of Nazi victims in Austria should meet with government officials and draft a new restitution law, before the present one is submitted to the Allied Control Commission for approval. He estimates that there are about 14,000 Jews in Austria, and about 60,000 in Palestine, United States and elsewhere who will file claims for compensation.

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