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Jewish Agency Calls Two-day Conference to Discuss Germany’s Offer

October 4, 1951
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Representatives of major Jewish organizations throughout the world will meet in New York October 25-26 to review Western Germany’s recent offer to discuss with “representatives of Israel and the Jewish people” all Jewish claims arising out of Hitler’s persecution of Jewry, it was announced today by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency, which will sponsor the meeting.

Present at the two-day sessions will be delegations from at least seven countries, including the United States, Canada, South Africa, France, Australia, Great Britain and Argentina as well as representatives of the Israel Government, which in recent months has laid before the Occupying Powers a claim for $1,500,000,000 against Germany, based on the cost to Israel of giving haven to more than 500,000 surviving victims of the Nazi terror.

In announcing the conference, Dr. Goldmann, who will preside, declared: “Chancellor Adenauer’s statement before the West German Parliament last week, and the Parliamentary approval of it which was promptly forthcoming, opens the door to serious consideration by the German people of the material as well as the moral debt they owe to Israel and to Jews of the world. In the light of this statement it is vital that representatives of the Israel Government, and of all major Jewish bodies concerned, have opportunity to meet together to review the whole restitution problem and to achieve a concrete and united program.

“Discussions at the meeting will cover various kinds of claims which have been presented to Germany by various Jewish bodies, and especially the claims of the Israel Government as they have been set forth in two notes delivered in recent months to the Occupying Powers. Included in the discussions will be the restitution owed to the Jewish people as a whole for Jewish property which has been left heirless. We must reach agreement at this conference on methods for arriving at a settlement with Germany in some measure commensurate with the staggering material losses inflicted upon the Jewish people by the Nazis.”

The World Jewish Congress in a statement issued here on the West German pledge to make restitution to the Jews, said: “The moral status of the German people in the international community will be determined not by political pronouncements but by Germany’s efforts to redress through appropriate material and moral measures the wrongs inflicted upon the Jewish people in Germany’s name.” The statement stressed the “paramount importance” of the re-education of the German people and the urgency of German governmental action to stem anti-Semitism and a Nazi resurgence in Germany, as well as upon “the justice and need for substantial material reparations,” especially to Israel.

Jacob Blaustein, president of the American Jewish Committee, sent a cable to Chancellor Adenauer stating: “American Jewish Committee welcomes your forthright statement and Parliamentary action as a significant first step toward Germany’s assumption of moral and legal responsibility regarding what you rightfully call unspeakable crimes against Jews. We look forward to genuine implementation of this promising beginning and to speedy settlement of material reparations problem. As you properly say it is now necessary for your government to take effective action against elements promoting intolerance and toward democratic education German nation especially youth. We hope with you that principles you express will become policy of the German Government and deep conviction of entire German nation.”

Louis Lipsky, chairman of the American Zionist Council, declared: “It will be hard for Jews to forget the sufferings caused by the Nazi regime and the connection therewith of the German people. The wounds are too deep and are still unhealed. There is moral satisfaction, however, in the fact that the conscience of Germany has at last found a voice to speak for it.”

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