BONN (Oct. 28)
Dissatisfaction with slow progress in the legislative implementation and practical application of the 15-month-old Federal Indemnification Law for individual Nazi victims has reached a new pitch of intensity here.
If an unexpected flare-up on the floor of the Bundestag, even spokesmen for the two major parties of the Adenauer coalition criticized the Bonn Ministry of Finance and the state governmental indemnification agencies in the strongest terms heard from their benches in a long time. An indemnification motion was carried in spite of it having been introduced by the opposition Social Democrats – an almost unprecedented occurrence, since the government parties have a solid majority running to better than two-thirds of the seats.
Dr. Adolf Arndt, a leading legal figure of the Social Democratic Party, held that only “a putrid climate of creeping anti-Semitism” could account for the laggard state of indemnification. The frequent official progress announcements by the Bonn Ministry of Finance evoke the impression abroad that the Federal Government is friendly to indemnification, he noted, “while actually this is not the case at all.” At the same time, the erroneous belief is thus instilled in the German taxpayer that Nazi victims enjoy a “golden indemnification miracle.”
The Social Democratic Party, in its motion, proposed that $60,000,000 for indemnification purposes be set aside in the 1955-56 budget. While Social Democratic championship of indemnification at the Bonn level is a welcome fact, Dr. H. G. van Dam, secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, today pointed out that indemnification is nonetheless in sorry shape where the Social Democrats are themselves an influential part of the government–in Lower Saxony, Bavaria and Hesse.