German Catholics Reach Property Agreement with Israel

An agreement on the disposition of German Catholic property in Israel was reached this week in Basle, Switzerland, between representatives of the Government of Israel and the Roman Catholic Archiepiscopal See of Cologne, it was learned here today.

When Israel confiscated all German property in the country three years ago, real estate held in the name of the Cologne See was also affected. More than a year ago Israel agreed, in a companion pact to the German reparations agreement, to pay adequate compensation for such church property.

At negotiations held in Luxemburg and Paris last Spring, Israel representatives declared the willingness of their government to return to the church all property used for religious purposes. This chiefly concerns the Abbey of Dormition and a church on Mt. Zion, which is in the hands of German monks of the Benedictine Order, and churches and a guest house at Tabgha, on Lake Tiberias. Israel will provide a substantial financial contribution to repair the Abbey, which suffered damage during the Arab invasion.

As for German Catholic property used for secular purposes–notably the Schmidt School in Jerusalem and real estate in Haifa–part will be sold and part will be leased to the Israel Government. Details covering these arrangements have been laid down in the Basle agreement.

NEXT STORY