Figl Promises to Investigate Jewish Compensation Claims

Chancellor Leopold Figl has promised to set up a committee to investigate the compensation claims of Austrian Jews who were formerly interned in Nazi concentration camps and were conscripted for slave labor.

The Chancellor made this pledge in a letter to Simon Wiesenthal, president of the Jewish Central Committee of Linz who, in the name of 30,000 former inmates wrote to Figl pointing out that thousands of Jewish victims of Nazis had been assigned to Austrian firms as slave laborers on construction and industrial work. In his letter, Wiesenthal suggested that a special fund be set up to which Austrian firms who employed Nazi slave laborers would contribute.

(The New York Times reported from Vienna this week-end that as a result of United States pressure and representations made in the last few days by Dr. Maurice Perlzweig, director of internationnal affairs of the World Jewish Congress, the Austrian Government may get around to a general settlement of Jewish claims for damages suffered under the Nazi regime, such as West Germany is about to make.

(The Times report added that if Chancellor Figl and Foreign Minister Kari Gruber are able to make good on their assurances to Dr. Perlzweig four large Jewish organizations will be asked to draft proposals for a settlement. The groups are the World Jewish Congress, American Jewish Committee, Joint Distribution Committee and Jewish Agency.)

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