Austria Expects Jewish Groups Initiative on Claims Talks

The Austrian Government sees no reason for renewing its invitation to the world Jewish groups to negotiate over claims for compensation and restitution to Jewish victims of the Nazis, Austrian Finance Minister Reinhardt Kamitz declared today. He added that the government is waiting to hear from the Jewish groups when they will resume the negotiations.

He revealed that a deadlock has developed over the Jewish demand for a lump sum payment for heirless property–a sum which the Jews consider small but the government considers too large. The Minister said that in his last conversation with Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Jewish negotiators, he had given him the Austrian counteroffer, but Dr. Goldmann’s reply was that it was unacceptable.

Dr. Kamitz revealed that Austria was willing to pay a lump sum for all “traceable” property plus a certain additional sum–still to be fixed–to cover all other heirless claims. Austria could not pay for all heirless Jewish property because to do so would be to set a precedent which would lead to other groups claiming property confiscated by the Nazis, the Minister asserted.

In Parliament today a Socialist deputy asked the government to report on the status of the negotiations with the Jewish groups, stressing that the discussions were of great interest to the Austrian people. Mr. Kamitz will reply in Parliament next week.

Meanwhile, “Neue Welt, ” organ of the Vienna Jewish Community, has scored the government for its attempt to beat down the Jewish negotiators. It condemns the government position in view of the Jewish offer to cut the original demand by two-thirds.

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