Eight European Lands Seek German Indemnification for Nazi Victims

In a strongly-worded note delivered to the West German Foreign Office here today, the Norwegian Government rejected a West German reaction to an earlier bid by eight European countries for expansion of the scope of German indemnification legislation.

The eight countries asked that Bonn indemnification be extended to cover Nazi victims who were neither citizens nor residents of Nazi Germany. The German reply, said the Norwegian note, “cannot be considered a basis for discussions and constitutes an affront” to former Norwegian prisoners of Nazi Germany.

More than a year ago, the Governments of the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg and Greece pointed out to the Bonn Government that many of their nationals or residents had been persecuted by the Nazi regime on racial, religious or political grounds. They proposed that representatives of their countries and from the Federal Republic form an intergovernmental committee to examine means of providing adequate compensation for victims of Nazism excluded from Bonn indemnification benefits.

This plan was rejected last February by the West German Foreign office, a rejection which in general covered any extension of benefits. Willingness to participate in discussions was specifically limited to “charitable measures” for aiding indigent and needy Nazi victims now outside the Bonn compensation framework.

This West German rebuff was received with angry remonstrance’s in Holland and Norway last month. The Oslo newspaper, “Arbeiderbladet,” indicated that the eight countries were engaged in an exchange of views on the formulation of a new note with special attention to finding an agreed definition of those categories of Nazi victims for whom compensation was being demanded.

The Norwegian note urged that a speedy solution be found for compensation of Nazi victims who do not benefit from the present West German indemnification laws. It was also reported that the Dutch Government at the Hague was drafting a new note to the Bonn Government rejecting West German proposals of unofficial payments to claimants, using money from private or semi-official funds. The new note, it was reported, will describe such proposals as unsatisfactory and as an offense to the victims.

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