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Jewish Communities in Greece Hold Parley on Rehabilitation Problems

June 30, 1964
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

More than 40 delegates representing the 16 Jewish communities of Greece met here today in an effort to try to cut the Gordian knot of financial problems strangling Greek Jewry and put through a rehabilitation program for the community’s 5, 000 Jews.

The two problems that are tangling up rehabilitation efforts are a Greek communal property law and the unwillingness of many communities to accept central administration. Under Greek law, the total communal fortune–estimated at $50, 000, 000–belongs to all the Jews who had lived in Greece in 1939 of the 90, 000 prewar Jewish population, only 20, 000 survived the Nazi persecutions; 5, 000 of them are living now in Greece, and 15,000 in Israel, the United States and other countries.

The main problem of the convention is how to make use of this hitherto unexploited fortune for the rehabilitation of the community while arranging for the participation of Greek Jews living outside the country. The problem has become particularly pressing, as the assistance the Greek Jewish community has received from the Claims Conference until now will soon come to an end.

The second problem, that of organization, was discussed at the meeting by the representative of the Joint Distribution Committee, Haim Ben Rubi, who proposed that the rehabilitation program should be drawn up in the name of the Central Board of Jewish Communities, in order to avoid possible misuse by small communities and for the purpose of forming a strong Jewish community in Greece. However, many delegates spoke against central administration, declaring that they prefer individual rehabilitation for each community.

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