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Austria to Pay for Wrecked Synagogues, Hesitates on Aiding Nazi Victims

The Austrian Parliament last night approved unanimously a bill providing for 30,000,000 schillings ($1,200,000) compensation to the Jewish community for the destruction of synagogues and cemeteries by the Nazis in 1938. In addition, the bill provided for annual Government payments to the Jewish community of 1,800,000 schillings (about $70,000) for operation of community facilities.

During the debate, one deputy told Parliament that Austria had a moral obligation to pay restitution to Jews as victims of nazism. He declared that not only the Germans who were here during the Nazi regime, but the Austrians as well, “are responsible for the anti-Jewish atrocities.”

A bill providing for compensation to Jewish victims of nazism in Austria is pending in Parliament, but is making slow progress. It is still not certain whether the Austrian Government will assume a major share of the cost of such a compensation program, or will expect West Germany to shoulder most of the costs.

It is also uncertain whether the Government plans to extend such payments, when and if they are made, to former Austrian Jews living abroad, or to confine the payments only to those Austrian Jewish victims of nazism living in this country now. There are about 3,000 of these victims in Austria, and about 30,000 abroad.

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