Menu JTA Search

West Germany Signs 822 Million Dollar Reparations Pacts with Israel Govt. and Jewish Material Claims

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

The Federal German Republic today signed restitution and indemnification agreements with the State of Israel and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, under which Germany will pay $822,000,000 in reparations over a 12-year period. Not a single word was exchanged between the German and Israeli and Jewish participants during the 10-minute ceremony.

Chancellor Konrad Adenauer signed the documents for Germany. Israel’s Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett signed the agreement with the State of Israel and Dr. Nahum Goldmann, the agreements with the material claims conference.

The brief ceremony took place in the council chamber of the 18th century Luxemburg Town Hall, facing the city’s ancient marketplace. Only selected representatives of the press witnessed the ceremony.

The German and Jewish participants entered the chamber simultaneously and took their seats at opposite sides of the table. Copies of the German-Israel agreement were presented simultaneously to Dr. Adenauer and Mr. Sharett for their signature at exactly 8 A.M., local time, after which the copies were exchanged and each signed the second copy.

Following this, Dr. Adenauer and Dr. Goldmann each signed the two protocols containing the agreement between West Germany and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the agency representing 22 major Jewish organizations.

After the formalities were completed, Dr. Adenauer, Mr. Sharett and Dr. Goldmann retired to an antechamber where they had a private talk for about ten minutes. The nature of their conversation was not revealed.

DETAILS OF ISRAELI-GERMAN AGREEMENT

An agreement was also signed providing for the start of negotiations dealing with German property in Israel seized by Israel and held as security for the claims of Israel nationals against Germany. Negotiations are to start within four months of the date today’s reparations treaty enters into force and if no agreement is reached within a stipulated time, the question is to be referred to a mediator chosen by the sovereign of either Denmark, Norway or Sweden.

The agreements signed today provide that Germany will pay the sum of three-billion deutschemarks ($715,000,000) to Israel and an additional four hundred and fifty million marks ($107,000,000) to Israel for the benefit of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. All payments are to be made in goods and payment is to begin with the coming into effect of the agreement on its ratification by the two states.

The agreement specifies that 200 million marks will be paid by March 31, 1953 and another 200 million marks during the financial year 1953-54. From April 1, 1954, the annual installments will be increased to 310 million marks. Germany, however, is entitled to reduce these payments to 250 million marks annually if it considers this necessary. The agreement is to run from 12 to 14 years.

PURCHASES TO BE MADE EXCLUSIVELY BY ISRAEL MISSION

The purchase of commodities and provision of services will be carried out exclusively by an “Israel mission” to be dispatched to Germany by the Israel Government. The mission will have full diplomatic status. The treaty specifies that measures will be taken and facilities granted for the purchase of export goods to ensure that there will be no discrimination in respect to exports to Israel as compared to exports to other countries.

The commodities to be purchased will be detailed in schedules, of which the schedule for the first two years has already been agreed upon. In an exchange of letters annexed to the agreement, the Israel Government agreed that when purchasing commodities it will also seek goods from the industries of West Berlin.

It is also provided that supplies of oil of non-German origin will be provided for one year. These oil supplies will correspond to the quantities which Israel annually received from British oil companies and which cover approximately two-thirds of Israel’s annual overall demand. Continuation of this oil agreement is envisaged, depending on the availability to Germany at the time of sufficient foreign exchange.

The agreement also contains provisions intended to ensure that its implementation may be adjusted to economic and financial changes that may occur during the life of the pact. On the other hand, provision is also made to ensure that no essential reduction of the substance of the obligation undertaken by Germany shall take place.

JOINT COMMISSION WILL SUPERVISE PACT’S OPERATION

A mixed Israel-German governmental commission will supervise the implementation of the agreement. Disputes which may arise out of interpretation or application of the agreement will be submitted to an arbitration commission.

An exchange of letters annexed to the agreement states that claims of the State of Israel against Germany for recompense for the costs of integration of Jewish refugees will be regarded as having been settled with the coming into force of the agreement and Israel will advance no further claims against the Federal Republic arising in connection with losses which resulted from National Socialist persecutions.

One of the two protocols signed by Dr. Adenauer and Dr. Goldmann provided for the payment of 450 million marks ($107,000,000) in settlement of financial claims advanced by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

In the other protocol, Germany declared that as soon as possible it will take all steps within its power to ensure the carrying out of those principles applying to compensation and restitution that had been agreed upon in the negotiations. The German Government furthermore declared it will endeavor to carry out the entire compensation and restitution program within a ten-year period and will give priority to claimants over 60 years of age or who are hardship cases.

Dr. George Josephthal, member of the Israel delegation, said tonight that the Israel Parliament will not discuss ratification of the Israel-German treaty until after it has been ratified by the German Parliament.

NEXT STORY