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Germany’s Move Unconstitutional; Jews May Complain to Highest Tribunal

December 8, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jewish organizations interested in securing compensation from the West German Government for Jews who suffered as Nazi victims may have to appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court of West Germany–the country’s highest tribunal–against an effort now being made by the Bonn Government to postpone for a year or longer the payment of $50,000,000 to a specific group of victims of Nazism, the vast majority of them Jews, who were to receive this sum in 1966 as the first installment of $300,000,000 in payments decided upon recently by the West German Parliament.

A spokesman for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said today that the postponement of the 1966 payments will “shake all confidence” in the pledges by the Bonn Government to meet fully its responsibility to aid those victims–known as post-1953 claimants because they were unable to file claims before October 1, 1953. These claimants could not leave countries behind the Iron Curtain prior to that date, the deadline for filing claims. However, legislation was passed last May by the Bonn Parliament setting up a special fund of $300,000,000 to pay their claims.

Despite this legislation, West German Finance Minister Rolf Dahlgruen announced recently that the 1966 payment would be deferred for a year or two because of “budgetary difficulties,” and plans to this effect have been presented to the Bundestag, lower house of the Parliament, as part of an overall 1966 budget reduction. The plans have already passed in the Bundestag on first reading and a second reading is expected in about a week. Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, sent appeals to members of the Parliament to vote against the proposed delay in payments to the post-1953 Nazi victims.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany came out today with a statement terming the delay of compensation payments to Nazi victims unconstitutional. Kurt Grossman, representative here for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims, said today that the planned delay in payments to post-1953 claimants would affect particularly the aged and the needy, and widows of those claimants. These, he said, are “the indigent members of the post-1953 group, who, under the law, would, at last, have been assured of some hardship payments.” Failure to start those payments in 1966, he added, would amount to “a flagrant breach of a solemn promise” made by Chancellor Erhard last Spring, when the “Final Indemnification Law” was adopted.

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