President of Germany Talks to Berlin Jews on Indemnification

West German President Theodor Heuss, during his visit here, took the initiative to visit the West Berlin Indemnification Agency and discussed current indemnification problems with Berlin Jewish leaders.

The President said that he sometimes feels that his residence in Bonn is a kind of a branch office of the Indemnification Agency. Many former Berlin Jews who, knowing of his lifelong interest in Jewish matters and friendship for the Jewish people, turn to him with requests for aid in their indemnification difficulties. He was happy to give help and advice whenever it is within his powers, he emphasized.

Among those who participated in the discussion with President Heuss were Senator Joachim Lipschitz, Minister of Interior for West Berlin; Heinz Galinski, chairman of the West Berlin Jewish Community; and Rolf Loewenberg, official in charge of the indemnification advice section of the Jewish Community.

Senator Lipschitz pointed out that 35 percent of all indemnification claims had been filed with the Berlin agency. Nonetheless, he continued, the program could be completed by the law’s 1962 deadline, provided $120,000,000 yearly were immediately made available, and provided the Federal Treasury increased its contribution.

Mr. Galinski reported on the beneficial effects of the amendment to the Federal Indemnification Law, but also on the manifold hardships that persist. At the specific request of the President, he then gave a comprehensive survey of Jewish life in present-day Berlin, the city in which Professor Heuss had many friends active in Jewish communal endeavors while living here during the period between the two world wars.

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