Czech National Bank denies compensation to Slovak Jews

PRAGUE, Dec. 22 (JTA) — The Czech National Bank will not compensate Slovak Jews for gold that was taken from them during World War II. The bank’s position, which was stated in a message delivered last week to the Association of Slovak Jewish Communities, came in direct response to the association’s request that it be compensated for the gold. The bank also said it did not have the gold that was confiscated from Slovak Jews during the war and subsequently transferred to the State Bank of Czechoslovakia. The Slovak government has had the gold since 1993, when Czechoslovakia split into separate countries and the assets of the State Bank of Czechoslovakia were divided between them, said bank spokesman Pavel Palivec. The Czech bank’s position came on the heels of a recent radio address by Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar, who said there is “no question a hoard of diamonds taken from Holocaust victims is kept in the Czech Republic.” Meciar pledged to support the Slovak Jewish community, adding that all hopes for resolving the compensation issue depended on the Czech side. Frantisek Alexander, chairman of the Association of Slovak Jewish Communities, said Dec. 19 that his organization would consult with lawyers before deciding what action to take.

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