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Vienna Jewish Community Takes Issue with Chancellor on Claims

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Dr. Emil Maurer, president of the Vienna Jewish Community, took sharp issue today with Chancellor Julius Raab over allegations made by the Chancellor in his recent radio address on the claims advanced by Jewish organizations for restitution of losses to Jews in Austria under the Nazi regime.

Dr. Maurer challenged the accuracy of a statement by Chancellor Raab to the effect that the Austrian Government had already spent 3,000,000,000 schillings for restitution. He took issue especially with the Chancellor’s assertion that the government had returned 2,000,000,000 schillings worth of property stolen by the Nazis. This, Dr. Maurer said, was not compensation but merely the value of returned property–if the Chancellor’s figures are accurate.

The Jewish community, Dr. Maurer said, demands that only Jews should benefit from Jewish heirless property, since only Jewish families were liquidated in their entirety. He denied the Chancellor’s assertion that the Jewish demands were “intimidation,” and declared that restitution and indemnification for losses suffered by the Jews did not violate–as the Chancellor charged–but vindicated the principle of equality of all citizens before the law.

Chancellor Raab’s statement that the Austrian Government had spent 185,000,000 schillings in making restitution under legislation already in effect is “without foundation,” the Jewish leader said. Every cent received by Jewish refugees and 5,000,000 schillings in credit came from American relief organizations and Marshall Plan funds, he asserted. At the most, he averred, the Austrian Government spent 365,000,000 schillings for aiding victims of the Nazis, and of this the Jews received only one-third.

There was no mention by the Chancellor of the sums spent for the rehabilitation of Nazis, which funds came entirely from the Austrian budget, Dr. Maurer underlined. Commenting on the oft-repeated statement by the Chancellor that Austria is not obligated to make good Nazi damages to the Jews because it is not the successor of the Nazi regime, Dr. Maurer said that consistent application of this principle brought into question its payment of pensions to disabilities suffered as a result of the war.

In conclusion, Dr. Maurer declared that there is a chance for the negotiations commencing May 5 ending in success only if the Austrian Government approximately fulfills the minimum demands of the Jewish Claims Committee. If it doesn’t, he warned, it will not be able to claim that it has acted in good faith.

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