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Austrian Socialists Kill Hope of Early Restitution Settlement

The Austrian Social Democratic Party has torpedoed the already dim prospects of an early settlement of Jewish claims for restitution, which have been under negotiation between the Austrian Government and world Jewish organizations since last year, by demanding inclusion of benefits for Socialists persecuted by pre-Anschluss regimes in Austria in the overall scheme.

Dr. Reinhardt Kamitz, Finance Minister, has proposed to the Cabinet that it offer the Jewish Claims Committee on Austria 30, 000,000 schillings as a lumpsum settlement of all heirless and communal property claims and establish a 100,000, 000 schilling fund for restitution and indemnification of all political victims of the Nazi regime in Austria, including the Jews, it was learned today. Dr. Kamitz based this generalized offer on the position that it was contrary to Austrian law to offer the Jews “special treatment.”

Dr. Adolf Schaerf, Socialist Deputy Chancellor, would agree to support this offer only if Socialists persecuted during the 1933-38 period would benefit from the general fund. This the People’s Party (Catholic) leaders would not agree to since it would place the pre-Anschluss Dollfuss and Schuschnig governments (also based on Catholic parties) in the same category as the Nazis.

Social Democratic circles asserted today that they do not recognize a moral obligation to make restitution to the Jews, as Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany has done.

A spokesman for the People’s Party termed the Socialist attitude on the problem an attempt to make Chancellor Julius Raab’s forthcoming American visit a failure, since he will come to the United States without an agreed settlement with the Jewish organizations.

Jewish circles here consider Dr. Kamitz’ latest offer to be far below minimum Jewish demands, noting that the total offered is less than the heirless property claims alone.

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