Commission of Council of South German States Accepts Draft of Restitution Law

A restitution commission of the Council of South German States–including Bavaria, Hesse and Wuerttemberg-Baden, all in the U.S. zone–has accepted a draft of a restitution law to go into effect in all the states upon its passage by their parliaments, it was learned here today. Thus far, the Hesse Cabinet has accepted the law and the Bavarian Council of Ministers is scheduled to discuss it in the near future.

The measure, as it now stands, declares eligible for restitution all persons who suffered a loss of health, personal freedom, property or other economic or financial damages as a result of political, religious or racial persecution between January 30, 1933, and May 8, 1945.

The law names as responsible for payment of damages to claimants persons who caused their persecution by a deliberate act, such as informers. Also liable to payment of damages are persons who caused injury by their attitude toward them and public officials who profited personally from persecutions. Specifically exempted from this provision are persons who were forced to persecute others or who did so as part of their “professional” duties.

In addition to this personal liability, the law provides that the German state in which the persecuted was living on January 1, 1947 is also liable for payment of restitution claims. DP’s who registered and resided in a DP camp in the American zone on that date are also eligible for restitution.

JEWISH RESTITUTION ORGANIZATION MAY SUBMIT CLAIMS

The law permits filing by the persecutee himself or, if he died before January 1, 1947, by his direct descendants and legal heirs up to the third degree. In all other cases claims may be submitted by the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization which will use the funds for the rehabilitation of surviving Jews. The Successor Organization is entitled to apply for property of communal organizations which were destroyed, for property where no legal heir of a deceased persecutee is traceable and in instances where the legal owners or descendants do not choose to ask restitution.

Funds will be made available to the German states for payment of such restitution, claims from fines levied by denazification courts and from valuables and other property found in concentration camps by the Allied forces. Since the German states assert that they cannot pay all claims at once, a priority of payment has been established in the legislation. It provides for immediate payment in the following cases:

1. Expenses required for restoring the health of an individual persecutee;

2. Funds required to pay rent by survivors, relatives of survivors and invalid persecutees.

3. Funds paid as compensation for arrest and internment;

4. Pensions for officials who lost them as a result of persecution and payment to surviving relatives of such deceased officials.

5. Financial help to persecutees who are working at present.

After these claims have been satisfied, payment of financial claims up to 10,000 marks ($1,000 under the new currency) will be made. All other claims will follow these and regulations governing them will be decided upon by the governments of the individual states.

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