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Goldmann: Final German Restitution Payment of 440 Million Marks Was the Best That Could Be Obtained

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Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, said today that the 440 million Marks West Germany has accepted to pay as a lost and final settlement under the restitution agreement “was the very best which could be obtained.”

Of this total, 40 million Marks is earmarked for the needs of the Jewish community in Germany. The remaining 400 million Marks is a hardship fund for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution who were prevented from filing timely claims under existing German indemnification legislation because they came out of East Europe after the expiration of the filing dead-line under these laws.

TOOK SIX YEARS OF NEGOTIATIONS

Goldmann told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “I understand that some people in Israel are unhappy with the amount which they consider insufficient but they in their turn must understand that it took six years of tough negotiations to obtain even this sum.” Goldmann, who said that West Germany will eventually have paid a total of close to 90 billion Marks under the various indemnification agreements, “just refused to pay more.”

The former World Jewish Congress president said he had countless meetings, first with Chancellor Willy Brandt and then with his successor Chancellor Helmut Schmidt to obtain the 440 million Marks. Goldmann said that some of the strings attached to the latest sum are tough, but he stressed that “it was this or nothing at all.”

In Israel, Tuvia Friedman, president of the Holocaust Survivors Union, and other representatives of victims of Nazi persecution have protested against the amount, which they consider insufficient, and the limitations attached to individual payments.

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