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Release of Property of Jews Killed by Nazis Sought in U.S.

The American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress today urged Congress to approve legislation permitting Jewish charitable organizations in the United States to use $3,000,000 in cash, formerly the property of persons killed by the Nazis. The money is part of a much larger sum from the same source frozen in American banks under the Trading With the Enemy Act, which must be amended before the funds can be made available.

Prof. Herman A. Gray, appearing in behalf of the American Jewish Committee, told a sub-committee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by Sen. Everett Dirksen that the money would be used for relief and rehabilitation of the victims of Nazi persecution who have survived.

Testifying in favor of an amendment to the Trading With the Enemy Act, Prof. Gray said that enactment of the law would carry out a “principle of American foreign policy, steadily enunciated and supported everywhere in international agreements, treaties of peace, military government measures and through diplomatic channels.” He pointed out that precisely such property in Germany is already being used for relief and rehabilitation of surviving victims of Nazism.

Abraham S. Hyman, testifying for the American Jewish Congress, praised the Senate bill for being similar to the restitution law which Gen. Lucius D. Clay formulated as head of the military government in the United States zone of Germany. This law, Mr. Hyman pointed out, was the first to specify that property belonging to persecutees who had died heirless be turned over to successor organizations for the relief, rehabilitation and resettlement of the surviving members of the groups to which they belonged.

Mr. Hyman, who is coordinating director of the World Jewish Congress, was a former advisor on Jewish affairs to Gen. Clay and the general counsel of the United States War Claims Commission. That commission, he pointed out, also recognized that “it would not be in accord with our sense of justice to treat property belonging to families which had been completely annihilated by the enemy as enemy property.”

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