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Austrian Government Spokesmen Pledge Fulfillment of Jewish Demands for Restitution

January 24, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

On the eve of the departure for London of the Austrian delegation to the meeting of the Big Four deputies, which is considering the Austrian treaty, government representatives met today with Jewish spokesmen and assured the latter that virtually all their demands for restitution of property seized during the Anschluss would be met.

Twenty-five amendments to the present restitution laws were proposed to Minister of Property Custody Peter Krauland, who presided at the meeting, and Minister of Justice Joseph Gero. They were submitted by representatives of the Vienna Jewish Community, the World Jewish Congress, the Organization of Former Concentration Camp Inmates and church groups.

Chief government spokesman at the conference was Deputy Eduard Ludwig, author of the present restitution law, which has been branded inadequate by Jewish groups. He admitted that charges at home and abroad that the Austrian Government had acted in dilatory fashion regarding restitution had “cortain illusory justification,” but said that all demands could not be met.

The government representative, however, agreed on the basic principle that there was “no such thing as well-intentioned Aryanization,” and therefore all confiscated property must be returned to the owners or their heirs. He also indicated that in revising his bill he will include a provision for establishment of a Jewish Rehabilitation Fund with the proceeds from property belonging to Jews who died heirless.

Franz Sobeck, speaking for the non-Jewish victims, said that the property losses suffered by religious and democratic political organizations as a result of Nazi action were greater than that suffered by the Jews. He agreed, however, that most of the property for which there are no claimants because the owners were murdered by the Germans or died in exile belongs to Jews. He stressed that care must be taken to avoid provoking more anti-Semitism as a result of enforcement of the restitution decrees.

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