Menu JTA Search

Jewish Leaders Present Claims on Austria to U.S. Public Opinion

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Facts about the “lamentable failure” of the Austrian Government to come to an understanding with major American and world Jewish organizations regarding the claims of Jewish victims of the Nazi regime in Austria were presented today to American public opinion in a statement published in the New York press by the Committee for Jewish Claims on Austria.

The statement was issued in connection with the arrival in New York of Julius Raab, Chancellor of Austria, following a visit to Washington. It was signed by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, Jacob Blaustein, Israel Goldstein, Adolph Held, Moses A. Leavitt, Frank Goldman and other leading members of the executive board of the Committee for Jewish Claims on Austria. Gustav Jellinek, president of the American Federation of Jews from Austria, was also among the leaders who signed the statement, which reads:

“On the occasion of the arrival in New York City of Julius Raab, Chancellor of Austria, we feel duty bound to place before the people of this city and American public opinion the facts about the Austrian Government’s lamentable failure to solve one of the most poignant legacies of Nazi rule–the claims of the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution in Austria.

JEWISH REQUESTS OUTLINED; CLAIMS TERMED MODERATE

“What have our claims been? We requested, firstly, that Austria pass legislation, the kind that has been in effect in Western Germany for several years now, that would provide minimum compensation to the tens of thousands of victims of Nazi persecution in Austria, to men of all religious persuasions, wherever they may now reside and whatever their present nationality may be.

“Our second request was for a settlement of the vast amount of property belonging to over 60,000 Jews in Austria who perished leaving no heirs or claimants. Most of this property has disappeared into the Austrian economy and still benefits that economy. Our claims, in this regard, were obviously not measured by the vast sum which has thus disappeared. An advance in the amount of 150,000,000 Austrian schillings – a little less than $6,000,000 – was discussed but even this moderate claim has not been met.

“Our third request was for measures to aid the pitifully small remnant of the once large and prosperous Jewish community of Austria. These included funds for the rebuilding of synagogues and housing assistance to those who lost their homes or apartments during the Nazi regime. Here also there has been no measurable progress.

“Austria cannot honestly claim inability to meet our demands. At no time in the past 50 years has she been so prosperous as today. We do not hold the present leaders of Austria responsible for the ineffable horrors perpetrated under Austrian Nazis, But it is a fact that the Jews were pillaged and exterminated, and that elements of the Austrian population participated in and benefited from these crimes. It is clearly the moral obligation of the Austrian people and their government, especially when their country–according to official Austrian statement–is enjoying unprecedented prosperity, to meet the modest demands of the Jewish victims of Nazi rule in Austria. The record is clear. Let conscience be the judge.”

NEXT STORY