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Austria Rejects Jewish Demand for Heirless Property Settlement

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The Austrian Government has definitely rejected the demands of world Jewish organizations for a lump sum settlement of heirless property claims of Jewish victims of the Nazis, after having negotiated with the Jewish groups for six months over the amount of such a settlement, it was learned here this week-end from authoritative sources. The Austrian Government has also turned down all proposals for advance payment of any of the heirless restitution claims.

A case-by-case investigation of the claims is only possible six months after the ratification of an Austrian state treaty with the Allied powers, the government claimed. This argument was advanced by the government on the basis of a number of Austrian laws which provide for the submission of claims for return of heirless property until six months after the treaty ratification. In informing the Jewish groups of its decision, the government also argued that if it were to settle the claims with the Jewish groups, claimants could, until six months after treaty ratification, demand property which had been included in the lump sum settlement.

The Austrian Government also told the Jewish groups that they had started off on the wrong basis, since the granting of restitution to racial persecutes would mean “discrimination” in favor of one group. Special regulations favoring individual cases or groups was contrary to Austrian Government policy, it declared.

Nevertheless, it was reported, the government told the Jewish organizations that it was “willing to continue the negotiations,” and asked for new Jewish offers for a settlement of the problem of heirless property.

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