Hungary to resume reparations payments through Claims Conference

(JTA) — The Hungarian government ended a yearlong freeze of money transfers to Holocaust survivors through the Claims Conference.

The decision to resume paying reparations to Hungarian Holocaust survivors living outside the country was announced Saturday by Janos Lazar, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff.

Lazar said $5.6 million would be transferred to the Jewish Heritage of Hungary Public Endowment, or Mazsok, and be ready to be distributed by Tuesday.

Negotiations between Hungarian officials and the Claims Conference took five months, Gyorgy Szabo, president of the Mazsok, told The Jerusalem Post.

Hungary pledged $21 million in 2007 to Hungarian Holocaust survivors to be distributed over five years, in part by the Conference of Material Claims Against Germany. An extension of the agreement  was to be signed last year, but Hungary froze the money transfers after accusing the Claims Conference of improper accounting.

Hungary also sought the return of $12.6 million that the government said it gave the Claims Conference. The Claims Conference said it received $8 million for distribution to the Hungarian Holocaust survivors living outside thecountry.

The money was transferred initially from the treasury to Mazsok, a committee of government officials and Jewish representatives.

Lazar said Saturday that both sides also agreed to contract an international auditing firm to monitor the money transfers.

 

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