The Bundesrat, upper house of the West German Parliament, gave unanimous approval this week-end to the amendment to the Federal Indemnification Law. It is anticipated that the amendment, which provides a thoroughgoing overhaul of the original measure, will go into effect next month after publication in the Official Gazette.
A number of formalities still remain to be cleared. The effective date of the amendment is April 1, 1956. The law and the amendment will together consist of several hundred articles.
It is expected that the amendment will mean between $400,000,000 and $500,000,000 for Jewish victims of Nazism over the next seven years. The chief Jewish beneficiaries will be Jewish resident of East Germany who have since left that territory and who will, in general, receive the same rights as residents and former residents of West Germany. Displaced Person, who formerly received 25 percent less compensation than German nationals, will receive the same amount, if they resided in Germany after the war. Jewish victims of Nazism who never resided in Germany are almost completely disregarded in the amendment.
All claims recognized previously by a proper indemnification agency, will become due immediately, except in a number of special cases. But by next April even special cases will go into the category of immediately payable claims. The British Ambassador to Bonn last week protested to the Federal Government that provisions for “national victims” of Nazism–such as Poles–were inadequate.
In East Berlin. Dr. Wilhelm Girnus, secretary of a Committee for German Unity, declared this week-end that Communist Germany has no intention of paying Israel any indemnification for Nazi victims. Addressing a press conference called to protest the growth of anti-Semitic groups in West Germany, Dr. Girnus said that since Israel did not exist before the end of World War II she was not eligible for a general payment and that Israeli citizens could only have their claims considered on an individual basis.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.