Berlin to Pay $2,450, 000 Compensation for Wrecked Synagogues

The city government of West Berlin has agreed in principle, well-informed quarters report, to pay $2,450, 000 in compensation for the more than 25 Berlin synagogues wrecked during the November pogroms of 1938 by Nazis with the consent and benevolent assistance of the then municipal authorities.

From this amount, which covers damage to the synagogue buildings as well as the destruction of furnishings and equipment, certain advances made to the postwar Jewish Community will be deducted. It remains to be determined over which period that total sum will be paid. Also, agreement is still lacking on the division of this sum between the community and the two “successor organizations” for heirless property, the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization and the Jewish Trust Corporation.

Considerable progress has at last been made, it is also understood, in the long-drawn-out negotiations with the city government about a bulk settlement of restitution claims for private heirless property. These deal mainly with houses and plots of real estate owned by Jews who were killed together with their entire families, so that the German state would inherit if the successor organizations had not been set up by the world Jewish bodies to press such claims on behalf of the Jewish collectivity.

In the four states of the American Zone, the German authorities have concluded bulk settlements whereby they pay a relatively small lump sum to the successor organization and they in turn, attempt to collect from the present holders of the heirless property. The outlook for conclusion of a similar blanket agreement in West Berlin is now, after many years of impasse, a hopeful one.

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