East Germany Agrees in Principle to Reparations for Victims of Nazis

East Germany has agreed in principle to pay reparations to victims of the Nazis during World War II, Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, confirmed Wednesday.

Steinberg said East German officials have told congress representatives that after nearly 40 years of refusal, “they no longer have any objection in principle to reparations to Nazi victims.”

However, it was not clear whether only Jews or all victims would receive the payment, reportedly to be made in both currency and commodities.

Reparation talks are underway between East Germany and interested organizations in the United States, Frank Mader, press officer of East German embassy in Washington, was quoted as saying.

The reparations announcement, declared Steinberg, represents “a major policy shift after East Germany’s long-standing refusal to make reparations.”

Steinberg admitted that “We are not talking about any specifics at the moment, but they’ve publicly acknowledged acceptance of the principle.”

The executive director said that the stated reparations policy of both East and West Germany “stands in stark contrast to Austria, which has adamantly refused to make reparations payments.”

Jewish sources say that congress president Edgar Bronfman may meet with East German chief Erich Honecker to discuss the whole range of concerns relating to Jews and Eastern Europe.

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