U.S. Commissioner Hits Austria’s Amnesty for Nazis; Can Veto It

The American High Commissioner for Austria today expressed dissatisfaction with the laws passed by the Austrian Parliament last Friday restoring property and civil rights to more that 20,000 former leading Nazis.

"Nazi victims should be given consideration prior to Nazis," High Commissioner Walter Donnelly stated commenting on the laws which can be vetoed by any of the four occupation powers. Mr. Donnelly, as a member of the Allied Council, had once refused to approve a law passed by the Austrian parliament which would single out former Nazis for preferential treatment by exempting those repatriated as war criminals after April 30, 1949, from legal penalties imposed on Nazis before that date.

The new amnesty laws were adopted despite an appeal by the Vienna Jewish Community to the coalition parties not to pass them. Under these laws, thousands of Austrian Nazis up to the rank of cell leaders will get back their properties and will be reinstated in their civil rights, with the exception of 6,000 former members of the "Blood Order" who will receive their property but will remain without civil rights.

The new laws also lift a three-year-old freeze on promotion and increase in salaries for 30,000 civil service workers who were ordinary members of the Nazi Party.

Parallel with these laws, the Parliament also passed a "compensation law" under which former victims of Nazism will receive an additional $17.00 in Austrian currency for each month they were in concentration camps. These victims have been receiving till now about $23.50 for each month of internment.

"Neue Front," organ of the neo-Nazi League of Independents, today attacked the Allied Powers for "listening to the campaign of slander" against the Nazis. "We do not fear the Jewish protests, because we know from history that Jewish hatred is immeasurable and that the Jewish lust for revenge is unlimited." the paper said, adding that this view should not be interpreted as "anti-Semitic."

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