Bonn Govt. Renews Pledge to Honor Obligations to Nazi Victims

Grave misgivings in Jewish circles that West Germany’s obligations to compensate victims of Nazism for their sufferings and losses might be adversely affected by the collapse of the European Defense Treaty were allayed by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in a special communication, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, architect of the $822, 000, 000 Bonn-Israel agreement, revealed last night.

Dr. Goldmann, who is president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, announced that he has received assurances from Chancellor Adenauer that Germany “will observe under all circumstances” her obligations to individual victims of Nazism. There were no misgivings whatsoever, Dr. Goldmann explained, about the effectiveness of the Bonn-Israel agreement and Germany’s agreements with the Conference.

However, the Contractual Agreement signed in May 1952 between Chancellor Adenauer and the Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, contained commitments by Germany for compensation and restitution to victims of Nazism. But the defeat of the European Community Defense Treaty also meant the collapse of the contingent Contractual Agreement.

Jewish groups, therefore, were fearful that some of the provisions contained in the Contractual Agreement, affecting restitution to victims of Nazism, might fall by the wayside. The Federal Indemnification Legislation, however, was in no apparent danger since it is already in effect as part of the agreement between the West German Republic and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims signed in September 1952. Nonetheless, Dr. Goldmann communicated to Chancellor Adenauer a request for renewed assurances.

DR. GOLDMANN AND CHANCELLOR ADENAUER EXCHANGE LETTERS

In his letter Dr. Goldmann wrote: “I understand that with the breakdown of the European Defense Treaty, the Contractual Agreement also becomes obsolete. It goes without saying, that the Jewish organizations are highly interested in the sections of the Contractual Agreement that deal with the restitutions and indemnification. Dr. Herbert Blankenhorn, State Secretary of the Chancellory, has communicated to me your intentions to retain in full, the provisions of the Contractual Agreement dealing with these matters.

“It would provide great relief to Jewish opinion if you, Mr. Chancellor, would confirm these intentions. The provisions of the Contractual Agreement are at any rate, covered by the Luxemberg Agreement (between the Conference on Jewish Material Claims and the West German Government). “

Chancellor Adenauer promptly replied, Dr. Goldmann revealed yesterday, that “I can assure you that the Federal Government will under all circumstances, observe those sections of the Bonn Contractual Agreement which referred to the obligation to redress the wrongs committed by the Nazis (restitution and indemnification). “

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