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Reversal of Russian Policy Toward Return of Former Jewish Property in Austria Seen

A possible reversal of Russian policy on the restoration of Jewish-owned property in Austria seized by the Nazis after the Anschluss of 1938 was forecast here following the order of Col. Gen. L.V. Kurassov, Soviet commander in Austria, to the Austrian Government to list all property in the Russian zone seized by the Nazis and administered by the Austrian finance ministry. Gen. Kurassov’s order appears to have been issued on instructions from Moscow.

Following the issuance of the order Russian officers indicated that properties confiscated from the Jews and whose titles were not transferred by the Nazis will be returned to their former Jewish owners upon application directly to the Soviet authorities. In cases where the title has been transferred investigations will be made, it is believed. No indication was given as to the disposition of property of Jews who died heirless.

This policy would be a reversal of the previous confiscation of all Germen property, regardless of former origin, which the Russians have been claiming under the provisions of the Potsdam agreement.

Thus far the Austrian Government has compiled a list of 2,890 pieces of real estate and homes which fall into the category established by Gen. Kurassov. An additional 300 properties will probably be added to the list before it is completed. The vast majority of these seem to be former Jewish property. It is estimated that in all zones of Vienna some 6,000 such properties were administered by the Austrians.

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