BONN (Nov. 4)
Finance Minister Rolf Dahlgruen announced today that payments totaling 200,000,000 marks ($50,000,000) due to have been made this year to Nazi victims who were not able to file applications for restitution prior to October 1, 1953, will be “deferred” for one year.
He emphasized that the payments, ultimately scheduled to total 1,200,000,000 marks ($300,000,000) were “not being cut but being merely deferred” due to an over-burdened budget.
The $50,000,000 payment was to have been a first installment on the total $300,000,000 restitution due to those who could not file claims before the 1953 deadline, because of their inability to escape earlier from countries behind the Iron Curtain. Mr. Dahlgruen said that it was possible that some payments might be made to these victims of Nazism “in very urgent cases.”
The negotiations for payment to the group of victims of Nazism known as “post-1953 claimants” began four years ago. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany urged that West Germany compensate those victims of Nazism who could not escape from Eastern countries to file claims before the cut-off date of October 1, 1953, putting them on an equal footing with other victims of Nazism already provided for.
After intensive talks, West Germany’s Government finally agreed last spring to set up a special “hardship fund” of 600,000,000 marks ($150,000,000) to take care of compensating this group. The Conference continued negotiate and finally succeeded in doubling the amount to the equivalent of $300,000,000. World organizations of victims of Nazism applauded that arrangement. That was the sum put into the amendment to Germany’s Federal Indemnification Law passed in June by Germany’s Parliament.
In order to make sure that the amounts paid would be equitably distributed among the claimants, it was provided that the “hardship fund” would be paid in installments, The first installment, amounting to $50,000,000, was due to be paid out of Bonn’s 1966 budget. It is that first installment that is likely to be deferred under the Finance Minister’s proposal. The “post-1953″ claimants are estimated to include 150,000 Jewish victims of Nazism.