Restitution of Property to Greek Jews Halted As Government Bows to Pressure Groups

Restitution of Jewish property has stopped completely in Greece, and of 200 survivors who made application for restitution at the beginning of the year only 50 cases have been approved. It is feared here that the Government has submitted to pressure groups formed by people in possession of Jewish property.

On paper, the action of the Greek Government was a model for other European countries. The old Liberal Government had adopted two decrees which provided not only for the restitution of property to heirs up to the fourth degree of relationship, but also for the establishment of a Jewish body to take over the holdings of Jews who died intestate for use in aiding surviving Greek Jews. “We do not wish to benefit from the extermination of the Jews,” the government said at that time.

The government-appointed chairman of the Central Board of Jewish Committees, Asher Moissis, however, is pessimistic over the prospects for property restitution, since the pressure groups are more influential than the Jewish community.

Only between one-third and one-half of the 10,000 surviving Jews are self-sufficient. They are small traders, petty craftsmen and peddlers. The others are on relief.

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