Britain to Prod Austria on Settling Jewish Restitution Claims
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Britain to Prod Austria on Settling Jewish Restitution Claims

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The British Government will continue to use its influence with the Austrian Government in behalf of a satisfactory settlement of the restitution claims of the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution in Austria, the Board of Deputies has been informed by the Foreign Office. This was made known by the Board at its meeting here today. The Board had made representations to the Foreign Office asking its assistance in the Austrian claims negotiations.

It was also announced today that the Board will send a deputation to the Foreign Office to express its disquiet over the signs of a revival of anti-Semitic feeling and propaganda in West Germany. In addition, the Board reported that restitution and compensation to individual victims of Nazism in West Germany is progressing at too slow a pace, although the reparations transfers to Israel and the Conference on Jewish Claims Against Germany are “satisfactory.”

On the anti-Semitic front in Britain, a report delivered at the meeting today said that the Union Movement of Oswald Mosley is fairly quiet, except that it is running two candidates for election to the London County Council. It is significant, the report added, that “anti-Semitism does not at present make any large appearance in their speeches.” The Mosleyite periodical “East London Blackshirt” has re-appeared, it was noted in the report, and is giving prominence to court cases where Jews or Jewish firms appear in an unfavorable light.

The Board approved a grant of 250 pounds for the work of the Council of Christians and Jews after a laudatory statement about its work was made by a member of the executive. Last week, the Catholic hierarchy in Britain instructed Catholics not to participate in the work of the Council.


Meanwhile, a statement castigating the Austrian Government for its stalling tactics on Jewish demands for restitution and an heirless Jewish property settlement from Austria has been circulated by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The statement notes that the British Government has expressed sympathy for the claims of the victims of Nazism and adds that it is “desirable” that the British Government’s efforts in behalf of the Jews should be supported by the full weight of British public opinion.

The Board’s statement pointed out that large sections of the Austrian people participated in the excesses committed against the Austrian Jews during the Nazi regime and that many Austrians benefitted by the Nazi measures against the Jews. The statement sweeps aside Austrian pleas of inability to meet the Jewish demands stressing that Austria has been building steadily since the war’s end and noting that in every other instance, except this, Austria has been boastful of its economic progress.

The Board declared that Austria has been seeking assistance in ending the occupation by the Four Powers–which the Board said was a highly justified goal–in the name of justice. However, it underlined, Austria is unwilling to offer justice by providing some measure of compensation to the victims of Nazism.

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