Austrian Reply to Jewish Claims Expected Within Next Week

With the first phase of the Austrian-Jewish reparations talks concluded, the Jewish delegation indicated today that it does not expect any answer from the Austrian Government regarding the presented claims before the middle of next week.

Members of the Jewish delegation are very much surprised over the stand taken by the Austrian Socialst Party against a just settlement of the Jewish claims. The surprise is all the greater since the Social Democratic Party in Germany fully supported the Jewish claims presented to the Bonn Government.

The Austrian Socialists advance the argument that most of the Jews in Austria were not Austrian nationals, but came to the country from East European lands. This argument that “Jews are foreigners”–which was a favored Nazi argument–does not stand up against facts, members of the Jewish delegation point out. It is estimated that of the 180,000 Jews who lived in Austria before the country became a part of Hitler’s Third Reich, about 110,000 were born on territory which is now Austria, while the majority of the remaining Jews were born in the former Austro-Hungarian empire.

A spokesman for the Jewish delegation today revealed that the Austrian Government has made no offer as yet with regard to the payment of heirless Jewish property. On the other hand, Austrian authoritative sources today stated that they regard the Jewish claims on heirless property–which are to be satisfied through the payment of a lump sum–as “much too high.” The Austrian officials maintain that an accurate estimate of the value of heirless Jewish property does not exist.

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