Germany’s Budget for New Year Includes $150,000,000 for Jewish Claims

The sum of $60,000,000 is allocated for Israel reparations in the Federal budget for 1956-57 submitted by Finance Minister Fritz Schaeffer to the West German Parliament for approval. The same amount was included in the budget for the current year, but nearly three times as much as this year is asked for indemnification and restitution payments in the new budget, which would enter into effect next April.

In spite of her unprecedented economic boom. West Germany is for the third time in succession taking advantage of an escape clause in the reparations pact permitting her, as a last resort, to hold payments for reparations deliveries to a rock-bottom minimum of $60,000,000 per year. The reparations agreement sets $74,000,000 as the “normal” rate.

With respect to indemnification and restitution, allocations have been substantially increased. Specifically, $95,200,000 is set a side for disbursements under the Federal Indemnification Law for individual victims of Nazism, compared to $38,000,000 in this year and $16,000,000 in 1954-55. Since the law dealing with the restitution of identifiable Jewish property confiscated by the former German Reich is now about to be introduced in Parliament, after many years of procrastination, $35,700,000 have been earmarked for this purpose, as against only, $7,000,000 in the current year.

Pensions for nearly 2,200 former German rabbis or communal officials are expected to cost $3,900,000, an increase of one million dollars. For crippled victims of Nazi medical experiments, $50,000 will again be made available. A new item is the $400,000 provided for operation of the International Tracing Service, which maintains the Arolsen concentration camp archives.

When allowance is made for benefits accruing to non-Jewish victims of Nazism, West Germany’s new budget provides an aggregate total of about $160,000,000 for Jewish claims of all categories, which constitutes under two percent of the Bonn. Treasury’s anticipated tax revenue. So as to see indemnification, reparations and restitution payments in proper perspective, it may be noted that more than $1,500,000,000 have been earmarked alone for social-welfare disbursement deriving from the war that Hitler started–veterans benefits, indemnification for German expellees, compensation for returned prisoners of war, and so on.

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