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American Jewish Groups Welcome Bonn Agreements

September 12, 1952
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Major American Jewish organizations associated in the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany in statements today hailed signature of the agreements between the Federal German Republic and the State of Israel and the Conference.

German agreement to the pacts was described by Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the American Jewish Congress, as a signal victory for world morality. For the first time, he said, a nation guilty of persecutions had tried, without compulsion, to make amends. He also pointed out that large numbers of Jewish victims of Nazism will be compensated for Nazi terror and spoliation even though they did not come from Germany and noted that this was a departure from international precedent.

Settlement of Jewish material claims “does not imply in any sense settlement of Germany’s moral account,” Dr. Goldstein declared. “The Nazi extermination of 6,000,000 Jews cannot be compensated for by money. Nor can the suffering of the survivors.” He condemned the failure of East Germany to reply to Jewish reparations demands and called on Chancellor Figl of Austria to follow the example of Germany’s Chancellor Adenauer.


Frank Goldman, president of B’nai B’rith, termed the agreements a “significant accomplishment” and paid tribute to the spirit of close cooperation that prevailed within the claims conference and with Israel.

” Although not all demands of the Conference were met by the German Government,” Mr. Goldman asserted, “nevertheless the agreements represent a substantial recognition of the claims advanced by the Conference which should benefit victims of Nazi persecution and the task of the relief, rehabilitation and resettlement of the survivors of Nazi terror.”

The Jewish Labor Committee expressed gratification that “the appropriations which have been earmarked for the heirless and unclaimed Jewish assets in Germany will be used not only for rehabilitation of persecuted Jews now scattered throughout the world, but also is expected to be utilized for the revitalization of Jewish cultural efforts.”

It stressed the role played by the “entire free European labor movement and especially the free German labor movement,” in making the German Government aware of its moral obligations but said the agreement was not an “absolution of the unspeakable crimes committed against the Jewish people by the Nazi regime.”

Edward E. Gelber, president of the Zionist Organization of Canada, in a statement in Montreal, welcomed the agreement as signifying Germany’s recognition of its obligation to make material amends for the German atrocities.

The Jewish Agency, in a statement issued by Mrs. Rose L. Halprin, acting chairman, pointed out that the crimes of the Third Reich against the Jews “cannot be cancelled out by any material settlement. The settlement only constitutes partial compensation for the immeasurable material losses suffered by Jewry.”


While goods obtained under the agreements with Germany will be of great benefit in stabilization of Israel’s economy, Mrs. Halprin declared, “these benefits can be lost should supporters of Israel in this country assume that the settlement with Germany has solved Israel’s economic problems. In the years immediately ahead, Israel’s development will be largely determined by assistance obtained through the United Jewish Appeal, the Israel bond campaign, U.S. Government grants-in-aid and private investments in Israel by Americans. The settlement with Germany in no way reduced the need for this type of assistance from the United States.”

Mrs. Halprin said the Jewish Agency took “special pride” in the fact that its chairman, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, had “contributed so greatly to the successful consummation of these negotiations” and paid tribute to the “joint, harmonious and dedicated effort” of the Jewish organizations represented in the Conference.

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