Austrian Jews Make Final Bid to Government on Claims Issue

The Federation of Austrian Jewish communities, in a letter to Chancellor Julius Raab has given the Austrian Government a final opportunity to make an acceptable restitution offer before the Austrian Jewish delegation leaves for Paris Saturday to attend a meeting of the claims conference, Wilhelm Krell, secretary general of the Federation, told a press conference here today.

If an acceptable offer is not received by next Monday, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the claims conference, will propose to the meeting in Paris that the Jews break off negotiations with the Austrian Government.

Mr. Krell declared that Jews inside and outside Austria have been embittered by the dragging pace of the negotiations, which he said was entirely the responsibility of the Austrian Government. He charged the Austrian Government with favoring the indemnification of Nazis rather than the victims of the Nazis and with having “no understanding for the Jews.” Mr. Krell called the Jewish demands very modest, and listed them as follows:

Establishment of the principle that Nazi victims who fled the country shall not be discriminated against in the payment of restitution and indemnification; payment for all individual losses such as confiscated bank accounts and other forms of savings, and indemnification payment for Jewish cemeteries and synagogues destroyed by the Nazis. In this connection Mr. Krell noted that the Jewish institutions destroyed by the Nazis were valued at 165,000,000 schillings, but the Austrian Government has only offered to pay 3,500,000 schillings in compensation.

The Jewish demands also include restoration of 800 apartments from which Jews were forced by Nazis. Some of these homeless Jews now live in barracks in Vienna, Mr. Krell pointed out. Finally, Mr. Krell listed the demand for 150,000,000 schillings as a lumpsum payment for all the heirless and unclaimed Jewish property in Austria.

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