Jewish Claims Conference Leaders Dissatisfied with German Bills

Dissatisfaction with two bills of supplementary laws on restitution and indemnification drafted by the West German Ministry of Finance was expressed here today by three top leaders of the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany who spent three days in Bonn discussing these laws with members of the German Government.

The three Claims Conference leaders are Dr. Nahum Goldmann, Jacob Blaustein and Moses A. Leavitt. They met with Chancellor Adenauer, Vice Chancellor Erhard, Foreign Minister Schroedder, Finance Minister Dahlgruen, important members of Parliament, Mr. Hirsch and Prof. Boehm, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Indemnification Committee of the Bundestag.

The representatives of the Claims Conference made it clear to the members of the German Government that while they welcome the fact that after years of negotiations the Finance Minister is on the point of presenting drafts of the two bills to the Cabinet and the Parliament, they have strong objections to various provisions of the bills and are opposed to them in their present form.

They criticized above all the attempt to take away certain rights from categories of Nazi victims, which they enjoyed until now. They also demanded that the claims of the Nazi victims, who left Eastern European countries after October 1, 1953, and who cannot file claims under the present law, should not be taken care of, as it is stipulated now, by a special fund, but included in the existing indemnification law. Also, they raised objections to a number of other provisions of the bills.

The Finance Minister assured the representatives of the Claims Conference that while he does not want to delay the presentation of the bills to the Cabinet and to the Bundesrat before the summer recess of the Parliament so as to set the parliamentary machinery into motion, he is ready to continue talks with the representatives of the Claims Conference and to discuss their proposals and demands.

The Claims Conference leaders indicated today that they are “determined to draw the attention of the German parties and of public opinion, in Germany and outside of it, to the just demands of the persecutees as far as they remain unfulfilled in the new bills, and to do everything to bring about necessary substantial improvements.” They expressed hope “that both the Federal Government, the Laender and the Bundestag will recognize the supreme moral duty of Germany to do the utmost to compensate the victims of Nazism at least materially, in a generous way, and that the leaders of Germany will regard this sacred obligation as overriding fiscal and financial considerations.”

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