Austro-jewish Talks on Restitution Collapse in Vienna
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Austro-jewish Talks on Restitution Collapse in Vienna

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The Austro-Jewish negotiations on world Jewish claims for heirless Jewish property in Austria and for restitution and indemnification for individual victims of Nazism collapsed today after more than a month of negotiations. This is the second breakdown since the Austro-Jewish talks opened more than a year ago.

There is one chance left that the Austrian Cabinet may make a new proposal before Thursday when the last of the Jewish negotiators leave for Zurich to attend a meeting of the executive board of the Jewish Claims Committee Against Austria. If the Austrians do make an acceptable reversal by then, the Jewish negotiators will return to work out the details in the Fall, when the Austrian Parliament is in session, Moses Beckelman, chief Jewish negotiator, indicated.

The disruption of the talks followed a conference between the Jews and Chancellor Julius Raab, Vice-Chancellor Adolf Schaerf, ex-Chancellor Leopold Figl and Finance Minister Reinhardt Kamitz. At the conference, the Jews were told that the Chancellor would not improve upon the latest offer by Dr. Kamitz, who this week-end offered 50,000,000 schillings in a lump sum settlement of heirless property claims. Earlier, he had indicated the Austrian Government would offer 125,000,000.


Mr. Beckelman and the other Jewish negotiators turned down the 50,000,000 schillings offer and several other proposals by Dr. Kamitz on individual claims, all of which the Jews found to be reversals of earlier promises and unacceptable.

When Chancellor Raab told the Jews that the Cabinet could take no further responsibility in this matter without consulting Parliament, which would not meet until after the Summer, Mr. Beckelman told him that the Jewish team was going to the Zurich meeting July 11, At this point, the Chancellor said he would try to give the Jews a final answer within a few days.

Mr. Beckelman said he would be pleased if reconsideration at this time would lead to acceptable proposals. If it should, he said, he would look forward to working out the details and the necessary documentation in the Fall.

Observers here believe that both parties in the government coalition–the Peoples Party and the Social Democratic Party-have an eye on the Fall elections in several provinces. Neither wants to incur the wrath of former Nazis who might be tempted to vote for the neo-Nazi League of Independent Voters if the government came to an agreement with the Jews.

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