Hungarian Jews Critical of Law Limiting Funds to Nazi Victims

The Jewish leadership here is critical of the Compensation Law adopted by the Hungarian Parliament last week because its application to Jews is limited.

Leslie Keller, head of the Hungarian office of the World Jewish Congress, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the law will be on the agenda of a conference to be held in Budapest this year where the entire issue of compensation to Central European Jewry will be discussed.

The WJC is organizing the conference and will announce its date shortly, Keller said.

The latest Compensation Law, the third to be adopted by Parliament, applies to “people deported on racial, religious or political grounds during the Second World War and also to resident Hungarian citizens who were oppressed outside the country.”

The law covers the 50 years from March 11, 1939 to Oct. 23, 1989.

According to its provisions, the new Hungarian regime will pay compensation for Jews who were deported from Hungary but not those thrown into the Danube and drowned or killed in local ghettoes and concentration camps.

At least 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished in the Holocaust and many of them were killed inside Hungary by the Nazis.

The first anti-Jewish laws in Hungary date from May 28, 1938. The second were passed in 1939. The purpose of both was to eliminate Jews from the commercial and social life of the country But the new law ignores the 1938 decree.

Rabbi Tamas Raj, a member of Parliament for the opposition liberal Free Democrat Party, was critical of the law in its draft stages. He proposed several changes but few were accepted.

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