Jewish Communities in Bavaria Foresee Difficulties in Indemnification

Just one third of the 260,000 indemnification claims filed with the Bavarian State Indemnification Agency by 137,000 individual Nazi victims have so far been settled either positively or negatively the annual board meeting of the Association of Jewish Communities in Bavaria was told by its president Heinz Meier, who is also vice-president of the Indemnification Agency.

Bavaria has made $54,000,000 available to Jewish and non-Jewish Nazi victims over the past eight years partly from its own and partly from Federal funds, thus accounting for about one-sixth of all payments in West Germany and West Berlin. Of that amount, $38,000,000 were disbursed since the enactment of the Federal Indemnification Law three years ago and $28,000,000 within the fiscal year that ended on March 31. The claims either granted or rejected number 86,000 altogether and more than one-third thereof, approximately 30,000, were arrived at in the 1955-56 fiscal year.

Speaking from the vantage point of someone concerned with day-to-day administrative management of a top indemnification agency, Mr. Meter cautioned that the amendment of the Federal Indemnification Law–which after more than two years of delay is to be passed by the Bonn Parliament this month–is apt to hamper rather than expedite the processing of claims, its many improvements of substance notwithstanding. “The amendment will make it necessary to pass on many indemnification applications for the third time; he said. “This fresh determination of claims that were already settled and the handling of new claims that are now going to be filed, will strain the indemnification agencies to the breaking point, particularly since nothing has been done to simplify legal requirements and there by to make up, in part at least, for the avalanche of work that is bound to descend upon the indemnification offices.

“The legislators have neglected the manifold possibilities for streamlining indemnification procedures, which we would have needed far more than high-sounding declarations. In many places, the text of the Amends ant is formulated in a way rendering it incomprehensible to the laymen and difficult to grasp even for an expert,” Mr. Meier reported.

The Association, which is made up of the 13 Jewish communities in Bavaria, reelected Mr. Meter president, Prof, Baruch Graubard first vice president and Leo Rosenthal, a Forth Social Democratic city councilman, second vice president Josef Cicierski, of Regensburg, was named recording secretary.

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