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Bonn Government Disavows Campaign to Curb Restitution to Jews

The German Government last night disassociated itself from a campaign for curbing payment of compensation to Jewish victims of the Nazi regime conducted by Justice Minister Fritz Schaeffer, who was Finance Minister of the Bonn Government when the restitution laws were enacted.

“The Federal Government has never left any doubt that it would fulfill to the letter all obligations under the restitution law,” a government spokesman said. He emphasized that Herr Schaefer had not spoken as a member of the Cabinet, but in his capacity as a member of the Christian Social Union. He added that restitution payments would be made according to schedule. Under the restitution laws and payments must be completed by the end of 1963.

The central office of the German League for Human Rights today joined other groups in protesting to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer against the anti-restitution propaganda of his Minister of Justice. In a telegram to the Chancellor, the League stated that “restitution is one of the moral principles of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

The Christian Social Union of which Minister Schaeffer is a leader, in a statement, declared that while a public assertion by Herr Schaefier that restitution payments to Jews undermine German currency may be exaggerated, it is possible that a prolongation of payments may prove necessary. The statement added that “no one in Bonn was thinking of curtailing the restitution claims in any way.”

Herr Schaeffer had proposed that the restitution payments be curtailed to 9, 000 marks ($2,140) a year per individual. The central representative body of the Jews in Germany protested his suggestion immediately after he delivered a public talk on restitution two weeks ago. At that time he estimated that the restitution payments to Nazi victims would amount to about 28, 000, 000, 000 marks ($6, 700, 000, 000), including reparations payments to Israel and compensation to individual claimants.

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