Jewish Claims Conference Welcomes Passage of German Restitution Law

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany welcomed today the passage by the German Bundestag, the lower house of Parliament, of the Federal Restitution Law dealing with claims against the Third Reich and the Nazi Party, and called for its speedy implementation. The law provides 1,500, 000, 000 marks for payment of claims. (The mark is worth about 24 cents.)

The law pertains to monetary claims against the former German Reich, the Nazi Party and other Nazi entities, arising from the confiscation by Nazi authorities of non-traceable properties of Jewish ownership, including household goods, bank accounts, securities, jewelry, personal valuables and the like. As a rule compensation can only be made if the confiscation took place in the area of the Federal Republic and Berlin or if property was confiscated abroad and transported into this area. April 1, 1958 is the deadline date for the filing of claims on the part of persons who previously had not done so.

“The Conference hopes that the final implementation of the law will be speeded up, especially in the light of the fact that many Nazi victims have held in their hands unpaid judgments on these claims for a period of years,” Jacob Blaustein, senior vice president of the Claims Conference, stated today. In welcoming the action taken by the Bundestag, the Claims Conference expressed regret that certain important proposals it had submitted did not gain incorporation into the law. The Conference will continue to urge the broadening of the scope of the law.

The passage of the Federal Restitution Law followed in the wake of prolonged and extensive negotiations pertaining to its provisions conducted with leading representatives of the West German Government and the Bonn Parliament on the part of the Claims Conference. The law brings to reality one of the major obligations for providing compensation to Nazi victims which the German Federal Republic had undertaken to enact by the terms of the Hague Agreement it concluded with the Claims Conference in 1952, and by its agreement in the same year with the Western Allies.

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