Canadian Jewish Congress Protests Bonn’s Deferment of Compensation

The Canadian Jewish Congress appealed today to the West German Government not to defer the payment of $50, 000, 000 in 1966 to Nazi victims who were unable to file claims for compensation before October 1953 — the deadline in the original West German compensation legislation — because they were isolated at the time in Iron Curtain countries.

The appeal was contained in a telegram sent by the Canadian Jewish Congress to Dr. Kurt Oppler, West German Ambassador to Canada. The representative body of Canadian Jewry stressed that the deferment would be “very disheartening and unfortunate.” The $50, 000, 000 payment was scheduled to be started in 1966 in accordance with a decision of the West German Parliament a few months ago to set up a special fund of 1, 200, 000, 000 marks ($300, 000, 000) to pay claims of Nazi victims who were in Iron Gurtain countries and hence unable to file for compensation before October 1953. However, West German Finance Minister Rolf Dahlgruen announced now that the 1966 payment would be deferred for a year or two because of “budgetary difficulties.”

The Canadian Jewish Congress protest said the deferment would cause a serious deterioration in the West German indemnification program and would be “in direct contravention of promises for priority which will gravely affect widows, aged persons, indigent and other hardship cases and interfere with education plans of younger people.”

The CJC also said the postponement proposal is “a breach of a solemn obligation.” It “officially” called on the envoy “to convey our protest on behalf of the Canadian Jewish community to your government with our formal request that the proposed legislation” to implement the deferment plan “be withdrawn in the interest of those who are dependent on the legislation as well as in conformity with the canons of equity and moral obligation.” The telegram was signed by Michael Garber, president, Dean Maxwell Cohen, chairman of the CJC foreign affairs committee, and Saul Hayes, CJC executive vice-president.

(In Buenos Aires, the DAIA, the central organization of Argentine Jewry similarly protested today the West German plan to defer the 1955 payments. The protest was contained in a letter to Ernst Mohr, the West German Ambassador to Argentina, calling the proposal “irritatingly unjust.”)

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