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Austrian Cabinet Acts to Meet Major Jewish Demand on Compensation

The Austrian Government, in a goodwill gesture in advance of the opening tomorrow of actual negotiations on Jewish claims for damages suffered by Jews during the Nazi regime, today made a move in the direction of fulfilling one of the major demands made by the delegation representing major world Jewish groups.

The Austrian Cabinet today accepted the draft of two measures which would extend restitution and compensation benefits to former Austrian Jews now living abroad. The measures, which some believe may mean payment of as much as 1,000,000, 000 schillings ($40,000,000) to Jews abroad, provide;

1. Compensation will be paid and pensions will be restored to former Austrian officials or their heirs who no longer have Austrian citizenship and have not yet received rehabilitative assistance.

2. The Eighth Compensation Law will be amended to extend payments under the act to those who were persecuted on racial and religious grounds and who up to 1938 were Austrian citizens but are no longer citizens.

Meanwhile, it was reported here that the Jewish delegation also presented the Austrian Cabinet with a demand for payment of 1, 000, 000, 000 schillings as a lump sum settlement for all heirless property claims. The Austrians termed this demand “grossly exaggerated,” pointing out that they estimated the property as worth 40, 000, 000 schillings. Finance Minister Reinhard Kamitz offered to turn over the property to the Jews rather than make a lump sum settlement.

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