Goldmann Not Optimistic over Chances of Favorable Claims Settlement by Nazi Victims

Dr. Nahum Goldmann said today that he was not “very optimistic” over the chances of a favorable settlement of claims by Nazi victims in three areas where such claims are still outstanding.

He described as “rather heavy going” his current negotiations with the West German government to extend reparations payments to Jewish victims of Nazism from Eastern Europe who filed their claims after the 1965 deadline on payments. He said there also “was not a great deal of optimism” over the chances of compensation from the Austrian government and that he did not hold out much hope of compensation from the East German regime for Nazi victims living outside its borders.

Dr. Goldmann spoke at the board of directors meeting of the Conference on Jewish Claims Against Germany which opened here this morning. Dr. Goldmann was re-elected president of the Conference.

He noted that since the “Schlussgesetz,” the final law governing compensation and indemnification was passed in West Germany setting a 1965 deadline for claims, “Nazi victims have been arriving from the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries” and “they have valid claims.” But “this ‘Schlussgesetz’ is in their way. This is what I am negotiating with the Germans about. It is rather heavy going for a number of reasons. It is difficult to see how the negotiations will eventually conclude, but while I am not very optimistic, I would not give up hope for some arrangement,” Dr. Goldmann said.

SEEK CREATION OF COMPENSATION FUND

He said part of the difficulty was with the West German provincial governments, which, he said, displayed less good will than the Federal government in implementing existing claims and which cause delays and heartaches. Dr. Goldmann revealed that he had talks with Austrian Premier Bruno Kreisky about three weeks ago. “There was not a great deal of optimism but the efforts are continuing,” he said.

The Claims Conference board of directors adopted a resolution asking the West German government to create a fund under existing laws to provide a measure of compensation for claimants who filed after the Dec. 31, 1963 deadline and to improve the administration of the present reparation laws. Another resolution called on the East German government to provide a fair measure of compensation and relief and rehabilitation for Nazi victims and to enter into negotiations toward that end.

Dr. Goldmann disclosed that the West German government has paid out nearly eight times more in restitution and indemnification than had been anticipated when the reparations agreement was signed in Luxemburg in 1952. According to Dr. Goldmann, a figure of 6 billion Deutschmarks had been envisaged but some 45 billion DM have been paid to date and experts estimate that an additional 20 billion DM in reparations payments are yet to he made.

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