GENEVA (Jul. 2)
Efforts to obtain compensation for Jewish victims of Nazism from the East German Democratic Republic were described today at the opening of the annual meeting here of the board of directors of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The delegates, representing 22 Jewish organizations all over the world, also heard reports on the progress of negotiations with Austria with respect to its obligations to Nazi victims and on West Germany’s payments to date to various categories of Holocaust victims.
The Claims Conference meeting will be followed tonight by the annual meeting of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture which will continue through tomorrow. Participants in this morning’s session included Pinhas Sapir chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives: Mrs, Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the WZO’s American Section; Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents-of Major American Jewish Organizations: Dr. Joachim Prinz and Prof. Gershom Sholem. Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Claims Conference and president of the World Jewish Congress, presided.
EAST GERMANY REFUSES COMPENSATION
Dr. Benjamin Ferencz, of New York, reported that only about 1000 Jews remain within East Germany but so far these first victims of Nazism have been denied any compensation from the East German regime, He said that with the assistance of the United States, which extended diplomatic recognition to East Germany last year, though on less than an ambassadorial level, a representative of an anti-Fascist organization in East Berlin indicated readiness to examine the situation. But the organization insisted that it would meet only with Americans for the limited purpose of discussing American claims, meaning claims by Nazi victims who are now American citizens.
Dr. Goldmann told the meeting that he had established contact at the government level in East Germany and might meet with the East German leader Erich Honecker late in September, He cautioned, however, that there was no likelihood of legislation by the Democratic Republic and that East Germany refused to accept liability for Nazi victims.
NEGOTIATIONS PROGRESSING WITH AUSTRIA
Dr. Goldmann also reported that negotiations were progressing with Austria on the third and final payment by that country to Nazi victims, He said Austria is expected to agree to pay about $35 million after its next elections but there was a possibility of advance payments to victims.
Dr. Goldmann said he would report to the Memorial Foundation meeting on his negotiations with West Germany for a final settlement with Nazi victims who were unable to file their claims before now. It was reported recently that the Bonn government would pay DM 600 million, of which 10 percent would go to non-Jewish victims of Nazism.
Dr. Goldmann said in Jerusalem last month that this would be absolutely the last payment by West Germany to new claimants.
Dr. Ernst Katzenstein reported that West Germany has already paid out DM 50 billion in indemnification and the West German authorities estimate that by the end of the century they will have paid out another DM 35 billion for a total of DM 85 billion. He said that 40,000 indemnification claims were still outstanding.