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Austrian Jews Must Wait Another Half-year for Return of Their Apartments

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Some 2,000 Jewish victims of Nazism, who have waited three years for the return of apartments from which they were ousted, will have to wait another half-year, it was reported here today.

A new restitution law, which is in draft form at present, would provide for the return of rental and lease rights to racial and political persecutees. The measure, which has met with a number of objections, must be passed in its final form by the Austrian Cabinet and then approved by the Allied Council.

The Organization of Former Concentration Camp Inmates has demanded that the law be amended so that it would apply in all cases where persecutees were dispossessed by the Nazis rather than that each case should he settled individually as the measure now provides. Thus far, the government has refused to make the change.

The measure now stipulates that after six months the Organization of Former Concentration Camp Inmates may claim all rental rights to which persecutees who died heirless would have been entitled. The organization will then lease the apartments to other persecutees as a form of general restitution. Individual claims are valid if filed within one year after final passage of the legislation.

Under the proposed legislation only persons present in Austria can claim the return of rental rights, but even on that basis it is expected that a good-sized share of the Jewish community will be able to live in more habitable quarters. At present thousands of Jews are living in municipal barracks because of the severe housing shortage and the government’s refusal to evict Nazis and turn over their apartments to Jews and other victims of Nazism.

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