Commons Hears Report on Germany’s Payments of Restitution Claims

A British Government official told the House of Commons today that the West German Government has paid out 1,283,884,885 marks ($320,971,221) as of April 1, in restitution to victims of Nazi persecution.

The figure was given by Peter Thomas, Parliamentary Secretary of State, in response to a series of questions by Mark Woodnutt, a Conservative member of the House of Commons. He asked for the total paid by the West German Government under the restitution law, the percentage of the total amount still due, and what proposals the West German Government had made to pay more than the limit of 1,500,000,000 marks ($375,000,000) agreed to by the West German Government and the three Western powers in 1952. He requested an assurance that the British Government would insist on compensation in full before a peace treaty was signed with Germany.

The Parliamentary Secretary also reported that claims of up to 20,000 marks ($5,000) were paid in full, while higher claims in general had been paid up to 50 per cent. He said that claims of those who are 65 years and older would be paid immediately up to 75 per cent, to a maximum of 100,000 marks ($25,000).

He said the Bonn Government had not made any proposals to the British Government for payment of more than the agreed total of 1,500,000,000 marks, but that the West German Government was examining whether and to what extent arrangements more favorable to claimants could be made as the result of a recent amendment to the restitution law.

Mr. Woodnutt pointed out that there were cases in Britain in which claimants had received half the payments due them, and that they had been told they would have to wait until they were 65 before they would get the balance. He added that this was causing considerable hardship to a number of persons, and that the West German Government should complete the payments in full now.

(Yugoslav diplomatic sources in Bonn said today that Yugoslavia expected to receive from West Germany indemnification for Nazi victims along the lines of the agreements for such payments concluded between West Germany and a number of other European countries which were overrun by the Nazis.)

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