BRUSSELS (Mar. 8)
Allocations totaling $10,640,800, to be given in 1964 to Jewish communities and institutions around the world, serving about 250, 000 Jewish victims of Nazism in 32 countries, were made here today at the concluding session of a two-day parley held by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
By major categories, the 1964 funds will include $7,550,000 to the Joint Distribution Committee for relief and resettlement activities in Europe and Australia; $2,449,447 for cultural and educational reconstruction; and $330,000 for the Israel Purchasing Mission in West Germany plus Conference administrative expenses.
The Conference, organized by major Jewish organizations in the Western world to represent victims of Nazism outside Israel, participated in the 1952 negotiations which resulted in agreements with the West German Government to pay reparations, restitutions and indemnification to Jewish victims of Nazism. The Conference is formally recognized by the Federal Republic of Germany as the official spokesman for those Jews throughout the world who are entitled to individual restitution under the existing laws drawn up by the Bonn Government and the governments of the West German states.
Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the Conference, addressed the parley’s opening session here last night, contrasting, in his report, the manner in which the Government of Germany has “meticulously” met its reparations commitments to Israel and to the Conference, with what he called “the gap” in implementing restitution and indemnification laws for individual victims of Nazism. Illustrating that “gap, ” he pointed cut that the claims of more than 450,000 Jewish people eligible to payments under the existing laws are still pending.
He noted that tens of thousands of legitimate Nazi victims are still barred from filing claims because they had come from countries behind the Iron Curtain after October 1, 1953. That date had been fixed as the cut-off period for individual claimants eligible for German compensation under the 1952 agreement.
Reporting on the individual restitution payments made by the Germans to Jewish victims of Nazism to date, Dr. Goldmann told the Conference that the total indemnification payments under the existing German laws reached $3, 700,000, 000 by December 31, 1963. In addition, he said, the German states had paid out $173, 938, 571 before the present laws were enacted, bringing the grand total up to $3,873,938,000.
BONN RELUCTANT TO IMPROVE COMPENSATION LAWS FOR JEWISH VICTIMS
However, Dr. Goldmann said, negotiations between the Conference and the Bonn Government to improve the existing laws, and to enact new legislation that would cover those Jewish victims of Nazism who had not qualified for claims by the cut-off date of October 1, 1953, have not yet borne fruit.
Among the victims of Nazism now ineligible under the German laws, he said, are persons who did not succeed in leaving the countries behind the Iron Curtain up to the 1953 deadline. The laws exclude those persons as well as others who are stateless, he said. The post-1953 groups, he said, include Jews who fled from Hungary after the uprising there in 1956 and 1957, as well as “thousands of others who arrived from East European lands in recent years.”
“On numerous occasions,” Dr. Goldmann reported, “we have called upon the German authorities to place these refugees on an equal footing with the pre-1953 claimants, and to compensate them for imprisonment in concentration camps and for loss of life and health. It is a source of deep regret that, in the final stages of these negotiations, we have reached an impasse.
“As we move into 1964, we are resolved to spare no effort in pressing the German authorities to bring the program for indemnification and restitution to a worthy conclusion. Such a conclusion demands that all Nazi victims who have been omitted from the operation of the law, or whose claims have been treated inadequately, shall gain benefits due to them in justice and in morality,” Dr. Goldmann stressed.
GERMAN GOVERNMENT LAUDED FOR SPEEDY REPARATIONS PAYMENTS TO ISRAEL
While expressing these sentiments, however, Dr. Goldmann also hailed the good will and speed” with which the West German Government has met its obligations under the Israeli-German Reparations Agreement, a pact made in 1952 at the same time Germany made its agreement with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims.
Under the Israeli-German agreement, he said, goods, materials and services arriving in Israel from Germany have totaled $772, 559, 000 since deliveries started arriving in Israel in 1953. Over 90 per cent of the goods and services due to Israel under the 1952 pact have already been delivered, Dr.Goldmann reported. “The German authorities,” he told the parley, “have carried out the terms of the 1952 agreement for reparations deliveries both in letter and in spirit. It is gratifying, indeed, to make this fact known.”
As for the Claims Conference, it received $10,039,148 in 1963, bringing its total, spent since its program got under way in 1954, to $99, 560,189. These figures were reported to the parley by Moses A. Leavitt, Conference treasurer. He said that, in 1963, the conference spent $1,246,360 for relief and rehabilitation of Jewish victims of Nazism; $1,246,330 for cultural and educational reconstruction; and $328,778 for various special projects. The organization, he said, committed but did not distribute an additional $870, 000 in 1963.
Mr. Leavitt called special attention to the grants the Conference has given to the Jewish communities in France where the present Jewish population of 500,000 now forms 75 percent of the total Jewish population in Western, continental Europe,
He reported that the almost complete destruction of communal Jewish institutions by the Nazis has now been “substantially repaired.” Today, he said, “Western European Jewry is in a position to meet the needs of children, adults and the aged through a vast, wide-ranging network of communal institutions.” In France, he said, about 110 such installations have been constructed, renovated, repaired and equipped with Conference aid, or are in the course of construction and renovations.
$110, 000, 000 ALLOCATED BY THE CLAIMS CONFERENCE SINCE EXISTENCE
The report on allocations, at today’s session, was presented by the senior vice-president of the Conference, Jacob Blaustein. He pointed out that the nearly $100, 000, 000 has been spent thus far by the Conference. Today’s allocation will bring the total to $110, 000, 000. However, he noted, the 1964 allocation of $7,550, 000 to the JDC will not meet that organization’s requirements for services in Europe and Australia, estimated at $11, 596, 000.
That $4, 046, 000 excess of estimated JDC requirements over Conference allocations, he said, “is by far the greatest ever recorded since the working partnership has begun between the Conference and the JDC,” The JDC, he said, will have to raise that difference from non-Conference sources. While the ratio in 1963, he pointed out, was 75 per cent of Conference funds to 25 percent of non-Conference monies, the JDC in 1954 will have to supply 35 per cent of the funds against only 65 per cent by the Conference.
In addition, he said, the JDC will provide $800, 000 to a common fund it has established with the French Jewish community to meet special needs resulting from the influx of North African Jews into France. He singled out, among the anticipated 1964 expenditures by the Conference, a sum totaling $2, 720, 000 for aid to Jewish victims of Nazism in France. “That is a record sum,” he said, “the highest amount spent in a single country in the history of this Conference.”