Jews in Austria Fear Restitution Talks May Not Be Re-opened

Concern has been expressed in Jewish circles in Austria that the Austro-Jewish negotiations for restitution, broken off last June, will not be re-opened in October as promised by Chancellor Julius Raab.

A spokesman for the Chancellor’s office, asked what preparations are being made to formulate Austrian proposals on the basis of which the talks might be resumed, said that no work has been done thus far by the group of Austrian experts and fiscal advisors who had conferred with the Jewish negotiating team in the past. The spokesman pointed out that Chancellor Raab had said that Parliament would discuss the matter and that Parliament has not yet returned from the Summer recess.

Jewish circles note that when the executive board of the Committee for Jewish Claims on Austria met in Zurich last July to consider the situation created by Chancellor Raab’s position, the executive stated that the Jewish team would not return to Vienna unless the Austrian Chancellor makes proposals which meet minimum and reasonable demands by the claims committee, demands which were specifically out lined at that time.

These same circles note that there has been no indication from the Austrian Government whether or not the Austrian Government has accepted the claims committee’s demands, which were communicated to Dr. Raab by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the executive committee of the claims group.

It is believed here that when the Austrians attempt to re-open the talks they will merely issue an invitation without making any specific offer. It is also believed that the Austrians will stall so that when Chancellor Raab visits the United States November 21-27 he will be able to announce at a press conference that the Austro-Jewish talks continue and that the government is willing to satisfy the Jewish demands.

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