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Germany Postpones Reparations Offer to Israel Until June 19

April 11, 1952
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The German delegation negotiating with Israel and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany left for Bonn last night declaring that no firm offer on the reparations asked by the Jewish negotiators would be forthcoming before June 19. This, the Germans stressed, would be a month after the conference of Germany’s foreign debtors resumes in London on May 19.

A spokesman for the Israeli delegation today indicated that there is a definite possibility that Israel may abandon the reparations talks altogether. Moses A. Leavitt, head of the Conference delegation which reached agreement with the Germans on a series of improvements in the restitution and indemnification laws in Germany, said that his delegation fully supports the Israeli claim.

The Israeli delegation leaves tomorrow for London, while Mr. Leavitt and other members of the Conference delegation will remain at The Hague until Monday. The Israeli delegation presented a detailed statement to the German delegation last night listing point by point, Israeli dissatisfaction with the German attitude and protesting the introduction into the negotiations here of a new element, the linking of the Israeli claims with the London debt conference.

Moshe Avner of the Israeli Foreign Office told reporters today that the latest German statement “showed clearly that our claim is not only part and parcel of but is in fact subordinate to the London Debt Conference not only in time, but what is more important, in substance. He emphasized that Israel could not accept the view that payment of its claims should be contingent upon the consent of other German creditors, nor does Israel accept the view that Germany will have to rely on external assistance to enable it to fulfill its obligations toward Israel.


The first stage of the reparations talks thus came to an end today with Germany ready to resume talks with Israel on June 19 and with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims on May 19. The Conference still has to discuss with the Germans several outstanding points, including its $500,000,000 for the benefit of surviving victims of the Nazis who reside outside Israel.

The Conference has not yet come to an agreement with the Germans on the rate of conversion of liabilities suffered in reichsmarks of Hitler’s regime into deutschemarks of the present West German Government. In addition, the Germans have not yet agreed to the Conference’s demands that Jewish persecutees in Germany be exempted from the “equalization of burden” taxes whereby Germans are taxed to pay for rehabilitation of Germans who suffered as a result of the war.

Among the points of agreement reached between the Conference and the Bonn delegations are: West Germany assumes formal responsibility for discharge of liabilities of the Hitler regime such as expropriation of Jewish property; it accepts responsibility for two-thirds of the claims resulting from Nazi seizures in territory annexed or occupied by the Hitler regime, leaving payment of one-third of the claims to East Germany; Bonn will accept responsibility for enactment of adequate indemnis fication legislation for all of West Germany, modelling it on laws in effect in the United States zone, generally considered the most satisfactory.

In addition, Bonn will provide funds for the payment of claims under existing restitution and indemnification legislation in the various West German states, and it agrees that Jews who emigrated from Germany, or their immediate heirs, will be eligible for indemnity payments. A lump sum will be paid as indemnity to some 20,000 Jews liberated from concentration camps who left Germany or were removed by the International Red Cross. Finally, the Bonn delegation agreed that high priority will be given to the claims of Jews over the age of 60 to assure that they will receive the payments while they are still alive.

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