Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Austria Will Not Sign Claims Treaty with Jewish Groups

February 4, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Any agreement which the Austrian Government reaches with the world Jewish organizations on restitution will not have the effect of a treaty since the Austrian Government regards the Jewish claims committee as a private organization and not the equal of the government, a government spokesman declared today. He revealed that after all parties concerned in the problem have been heard, the Austrian Government will submit to Parliament a draft measure, which will include whatever details have been reached in agreement with the Jews.

Meanwhile, the newspaper Kleines Volksblatt, an organ of the People’s Party which reflects the opinions of the major party in the Austrian Government coalition, called the demands of the Jewish groups “very high” and also “questionable.” It asserts that meeting the demands of the Jews would impose a heavy burden on an “occupied and exploited country.”

At the same time, the newspaper questions the basis of the claims, cautioning the government to be “wary” about individual claims for compensation since 16 years later it is “next to impossible” to check on whether a claimant now living in the United States was “really as prosperous” when he was in Austria as he now claims. The Kleines Volksblatt finally stresses that payment of indemnification for heirless Jewish property will not be made by persons who may now possess the property but by all taxpayers.

Recommended from JTA