Austrian Group Formed to “protect” Persons Who Must Return Property to Nazi Victims

An organization of Austrians to “protect” persons who under the Austrian laws must return property which they acquired illegally under the Nazi regime has been formed here. The organization, which states that its purpose is “non-political,” has received a charter from the police department of Vienna, where its offices are located.

The organization has already held one meeting and has begun a verbal propaganda Campaign attacking the national restitution laws as illegal and as designed to aid “emigrants who do not intend to return to Austria.” (It is estimated that some 120,OCO Austrian Jews who fled to various countries before the Nazi onslaught as well as some 9,000 Jews now living in Austria are eligible for restitution of property seized, confiscated or bought from them under duress since the Anchluss of 1938.)

At the group’s first meeting, admission to which was by membership card only, the chairman, H. Oberhammer, was cheered when he attacked the restitution laws as injuring “persons who never violated anybody’s rights.” He added that restitution commissions deprive “honest citizens” of their life-savings. “Honest owners lose their legally acquired property while applicants for restitution enrich themselves unjustly,” Oberhammer maintained.

Since June 17, when the police granted the organization legal status, thousands of persons who now own real property, factories and personal goods which were stolen from racial, religious and political refugees by the Nazis have been applying to the group for legal protection and assistance. It has been noted that the organization’s membership consists of persons who were all active Nazis until the liberation.

NEXT STORY