Jews Dissatisfied with Austrian Restitution Law; Authorities Reject Modifications

Austrian authorities have flatly rejected suggestions that they modify the government’s “Third Restitution Law,” – covering mainly Jewish property now held by individuals – which Jewish spokesmen say is completely unacceptable in its present form.

An inter-ministerial conference this week turned down demands that it redraft the following provisions:

1. Aryanized dwellings remain in the possession of the present holder, with the former Jewish owners receiving promises of compensation under future legislation.

2. Heirless property will revert to the state, instead of being placed in a common rehabilitation fund to be used to aid victims of the Nazis.

3. The former Jewish owners are responsible for debts incurred by the present holders of the property.

The law, which now goes to the Cabinet and thence to Parliament, destroys the main hopes of the legitimate owners of the property, who have been waiting 19 months for restitution. Spokesmen for the various organizations representing Nazi victims declare that it violates the Allied declaration of Jan. 19, 1943, which said that ex-propriation of such property in Nazi-dominated countries was considered null and void and full restitution would be made to the rightful owners. The Austrian Government, they point out, has stated in the past that it would adhere to this principle.

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