Jewish Delegation Presents Claims to Austrian Chancellor

The delegation of Jewish leaders who arrived here to start negotiations with the Austrian Government on reparations for Jews who suffered under the Nazi regime, was today received by Chancellor Julius Raab, in the presence of Vice-Chancellor Adolf Schaerf, Foreign Minister Dr. Karl Gruber and Finance Minister Dr. Reinhard Kamitz. The Chancellor expressed satisfaction with the fact that talks can now be started in Vienna on questions concerning Jewish claims against Austria.

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, speaking on behalf of the delegation, thanked the Chancellor for the invitation to the Jewish leaders to come to Vienna and emphasized the moral side of the reparations problem which arises out of the Nazi persecution of Austrian Jews.

Dr. Goldmann pointed out that there are two categories of problems involved: first, the improvement of existing restitution and indemnification legislation for Nazi victims in Austria; second, the question of heirless Jewish property and of Jewish assets. He suggested that any agreement reached between the Jewish delegation and the Austrian Government should be embodied in legislative form.

Chancellor Raab pointed out that the financial and political situation of Austria today is difficult, but said that an effort will be made to find acceptable means of solving the complex problems in connection with the Jewish claims. He said that the two points formulated by Dr. Goldmann would constitute the subject of the Austro-Jewish negotiations. In preparation for these negotiations, the Chancellor asked the delegation to submit a memorandum which should include also figures concerning the Jewish claims upon receipt of such a memorandum the reparations talks could begin immediately, the Chancellor declared. The delegation promised to submit such a memorandum within a few days.

SOVIET PROPAGANDA DRIVE AGAINST REPARATIONS PAYMENTS

The delegation also includes Jacob Blaustein, president of the American Jewish Committee; Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the American Jewish Congress; Adolph Held, chairman of the American Jewish Labor Committee, Moses Beckelman, European director of the American Joint Distribution Committee, and leaders of British, French and Austrian Jewish groups. The atmosphere of today’s meeting with the members of the Austrian Cabinet was very cordial, members of the Jewish delegation said.

The Oesterreichische Zeitung, organ of the Soviet occupation administration, appeared today with an article claiming that the Jewish “restitution team” consists almost exclusively of Americans and can, therefore, not represent the Austrian Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. Such representation, the Soviet paper said, can only serve the purpose of transferring valuable Austrian assets to foreign countries. Demands that the Austrian Government should not pay any Jewish restitution claims “to foreigners” was also voiced in the Austrian Communist newspapers.

Addressing a Jewish mass meeting, Dr. Nahum Goldmann referred to the Communist denunciations and pointed out that the “extreme leftists belong to a movement which, where it rules, has not lifted a finger for Jewish restitution.” He stressed that although Rumania and Hungary are under treaty obligations to do so, they have nevertheless not restored Jewish property. The meeting was attended by more than 2,000 Jews.

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