BONN (Dec. 19)
Legislation empowering the West German Government to defer in 1966 and 1967 the indemnification payments to a special group of Nazi victims, involving about 150,000 Jews, was approved this weekend by the Bundesrat, the upper house of the Bonn Parliament. It had been previously approved by the Bundestag, the lower house.
The legislation is now to go into effect after being signed by President Luebke and by Chancellor Erhard, and following its publication in the Official Gazette. The measure will give the West German Government authority to defer in those two years scheduled payments of $50,000,000 for each year to victims who were in Iron Curtain countries by October 1, 1953, the deadline for filing claims under the original West German legislation. They were therefore unable to file. To meet the plight of these victims — many of them old and ill — West Germany set up a hardship fund of about $300,000,000, with initial payments scheduled to start in 1966.
Chancellor Erhard’s Government move to postpone the payments because of “budgetary difficulties,” touched off worldwide criticism by Jewish organizations. The move was opposed in the Bundestag by the Social Democrat members of the Parliament. Chancellor Erhard was scheduled to fly today from Bonn to Washington, to meet with President Johnson on various problems of interest to the two countries.