NEW YORK (Jul. 21)
Persistent approaches at an executive level made by Jewish organizations over a period of years have helped smooth out German indemnification legislation and its implementation, Dr. Nehemiah Robinson, director of the World Jewish Congress’Institute of Jewish Affairs, says in a report prepared for submission to the WJC’s plenary assembly in Stockholm. From 1953 to 1959 work in the indemnification field primarily involved five countries: Germany, Austria, Poland, the United States and Egypt.
“The implementation of the agreements signed in Luxembourg in October 1952, required constant activity involving enactment of new legislation in the field of compensation and restitution, following up its implementation, and discussions and negotiations with federal and state governments,” the report states. It points out that the importance of this legislation can be measured by the fact that up to April 1, 1959, almost six billion German marks were paid out under the compensation law and over 2,800,000 claims were filed by persecutees, of which somewhat less than 1,000,000 had been disposed of by that time.
The new restitution legislation involves an amount exceeding 1,500,000,000 marks to be paid to claimants from Germany and a number of countries which were occupied by the Germans during the last war, the report points out. It emphasizes that when it was learned that the United States and Poland were about to commence negotiations on economic problems, the WJC suggested to the State Department that discussions should include the problems of the property of U.S. citizens in Poland and heirless assets of former Polish citizens in the U. S. A.
When the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission began registering U.S. -owned and nationalized property in Poland, the WJC, in cooperation with the American Jewish Congress, instituted a comprehensive program of assistance to Jewish owners of such property. The American-Polish negotiations started this year but have not yet been concluded.