Budapest (Aug. 20)
With the recent appointment of the remaining members of the Jewish Rehabilitation Board, which is charged with using heirless and abandoned Jewish property for relief and rehabilitation of Jews, the Board will commence its activities in the near future, it was learned here today.
One of the major problems facing the Board, on which representatives of the Jewish community and the government sit, is the determination of which property and how much of it comes under the body’s jurisdiction. It has been announced that the assets of the government Abandoned Property Bureau, which is in the process of being liquidated, will be turned over to the Board. In addition, property whose owner’s death has not been certificated will also be surrendered to the Board, eliminating a wealth of red tape which promised to tie up such assets for many years.
The Board must also trace a good deal of property which it knows has been stolen from Jews but which has not yet been returned. In the matter of real estate such tracing is possible, although laborious, because it cannot be moved and disposed of without records. However, since much of the property was at one time or another divided among different people, either by pro-Nazi officials or under the land reform laws of the present administration, it will be difficult to straighten out the legal tangles involved. The government has made an attempt to ease the Board’s work by providing penal punishment for anybody failing to report property which he knows was taken from Jews under duress.
Although the beginning of the relief-rehabilitation features of the Board’s program will not be put off until all assets are known, the fullest extent of the program cannot be determined until such information is available. The first assistance will be given to victims of persecution, with children’s welfare and educational institutions getting top priority and homes for the aged second consideration.
Board officials have announced that although there may eventually be many administrative positions open in its various programs, it will begin operations on a modest level in order to effect the greatest possible economies. As the programs develop administrative help will be hired to keep pace with needs.