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Returning Vienna Jews Unable to Recover Homes from Nazis; Only Two of 1,200 Get Flats

Only two of 1,200 Jewish emigres who returned here during the past year have succeeded in recovering their homes or apartments, a spokesman for the Jewish Community Council said today. He declared that those who have Christian relatives live with them, while in most cases entire families are crowded into single rooms in overcrowded hotels.

About eighty percent of the returning refugees found their former apartments undamaged by bombing, but occupied either by Nazis or by Nazi-appointed “aryanizers.” Under the existing laws, only persons who joined the Nazi party before the Anschluss, or those who held a few key posts in the party, can be evicted from the apartments seized from Jews.

As a result, not only do the courts refuse to restore apartments to the Jewish owners, but there have been cases where Nazis who abandoned Jewish apartments during the collapse of the Wehrmacht and fled to the West, have returned to Vienna and taken successful court action to recover apartments now occupied by their legitimate owners who, in the meantime, had returned from exile.

A typical case is that of a Jewish interpreter, Inge Citt, now employed by the U.S. Army, whose father was deported and murdered in Minsk. The court rejected Citt’s claim for his apartment now occupied by a Nazi who joined the party in 1941. Citt now lives with two relatives in a small room almost entirely taken up by furniture.

Lawyers who have been handling the Jewish claims for recovery of their former dwellings say that they do not know of a single case of restitution of an apartment ordered by the courts, although in a few cases an out of court voluntary settlement was made.

The leaders of the Jewish community also complain that the new law for compensation of the victims of the Nazi regime does not provide a large enough annuity for totally incapacitated persons.

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