Israel to Pay Lutherans $850,000 from German Reparations

The equivalent of $850,000 in marks will be paid to the Lutheran World Federation in settlement of the claims for certain property of the German Protestant churches in Israel taken over by the Israel Government, it was agreed in a pact signed by representatives of Israel and the Lutheran Federation.

The agreement, which implements and amends an earlier one concluded in 1951, provides that the money will be made available to the Protestant churches over the next ten years from reparations funds due Israel under the Luxemburg agreement. The money will be used by the Lutherans to finance missionary activities in the Near East.

The pact recognizes Israelis title to the property in question for which certain payments have already been made in Israeli pounds. The property covered is chiefly the Schneller orphanage and home formerly operated by the Kaiserwerth Sisters of Charity.

It specifically does not affect secular real estate owned by German Protestant individuals, for the most part “Templars” who were deported to Australia by the British Mandatory regime during World War II. Holdings by the Templars include real estate in Jerusalem, Haifa, Galilee, Lydda and in the Sarona section of Tel Aviv which was taken over by the Israel Government for its administrative seat in that city. Negotiations on this property were recessed last Summer and are expected to be resumed next month in Rome, with a representative of Australia present.

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