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Israeli-german Talks at the Hague Reach Practical Stage

March 26, 1952
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The Israeli-German reparations talks proceeded to practical matters at today’s session, it was learned here after the meeting broke up.

An Israeli delegation spokesman said that he felt that the parley was now “well on its way” and that it was his personal impression that the Germans were tackling the problem with good will. He said that the Germans had clarified their statement of last week about the relationship of the Israeli claims with the work of the London conference on Germany’s pro-war external debts and that the stage had been cleared for the “give and take” of a conference.

The Germans asked the Israelis how they arrived at their estimate that 500,000 victims of Nazism now reside in Israel. They asked for a breakdown as to what countries they came from and when. In addition, they wanted to know exactly how much it cost to receive each immigrant.

(Maurice M. Boukstein, a member of the delegation representing the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany which is also negotiating with the West German delegation at The Hague, returned to New York today on a brief visit. He will rejoin the Conference delegation in the negotiations in the near future.)


“I have great hope for the outcome of these discussions. I look forward to an agreement between us on the extent and amount of the indemnification, and thus convince the Jews of Israel and the rest of the world of the sincere desire of Germany to make amends, “Prof. Franz Boehm, head of the German delegation here, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today.

He added that if he were not “firmly convinced” of the sincere desire of the West German Government to make amends for the wrongs suffered by the Jews under the Nazi regime, he would never have accepted his post as head of the delegation. “I accepted this post only as part of my life-long battle against anti-Semitism, “he stressed. For this reason, Prof, Boehm pointed out, “I felt that one who feels as I do has no right to turn down an opportunity to serve such a righteous cause.”

Asked by the J.T.A. correspondent how many Germans spoke as he did, the Professor shrugged his shoulders and said: “It would be foolish of me to reply that the great mass of the German people is enthusiastically with me and the government. There is a general feeling that something should be done–the Germans have been so preoccupied with other matters that this feeling has taken no concrete form. ” However, he expressed the opinion that there is a nucleus of people in every German community which is “definitely and wholeheartedly” behind this project and that their number is growing. “I look forward to the day when the majority of the Germans will be lined up behind us, “he said.

Prof. Boehm asked that the word “reparations” not be used in reference to the negotiations, but that “indemnification” be used instead. “We can never make reparation for what was done to the Jews–we can only indemnify, he declared.

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