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Bonn Approves Law to Indemnify Jews for Property ‘aryanized’ by Nazis

May 31, 1957
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The Bundestag, Lower House of the West German Federal Republic, approved today an amended law providing payments totalling $357, 000, 000 in restitution for Jewish property confiscated by the Nazi Government. The measure, passed by the Bundestag once before, had been sent back to a committee at the request of the Federal Council, the Upper House, which raised some technical objections. Now it is expected the Council will approve the law in June, and the legislation will probably go into effect in July, ending a seven-year delay in the enactment of this legislation.

The law pertains only to Jewish property “Aryanized” by the former German State or the former Prussian state railways and state postal system in West Germany and in both parts of Berlin. It does not affect seizures of Jewish property in East Germany, in the Saar, or in former German areas now under Soviet or Polish administration.

Thousands of Jews have obtained judgments against the German Reich in pressing claims for “Aryanized” property, but have been unable to collect until now. Under the new legislation, restitution will be made for securities confiscated by the Nazis during the war as well as for a billion-mark “fine” imposed by the Nazis on Jews of Germany and Austria in 1938 after the assassination in Paris of Ernest von Rath, a German embassy attache.

The legislation sets up a schedule of payments, with the last of the payments due in 1962, Claims will have to be filed not later than April 1, 1958.

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