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Jewish Groups in Germany Reach Agreement on Communal Property

June 23, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

After years of bitter wrangling an agreement on the distribution of Jewish communal property in Germany has been worked out here by representatives of the two parties involved, on the one side the “successor organizations”–JRSO and JTC–and, on the other, the re-established Jewish communities in Germany.

The settlement was drafted by Jerome J. Jacobson and Dr. H.G. van Dam. Mr. Jacobson, who is chief counsel to the Joint Distribution Committee in Europe, acted for the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization (JRSO) and the Jewish Trust Corporation for Germany (JTC) as well as for the JDC. Jewish Agency and Central British Fund. Dr. van Dam negotiated on behalf of the various communal bodies of German Jewry-the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the Central Welfare Agency of Jews in Germany, the Association of Jewish Communities in Northwest Germany, the Working Group of Jewish Communities in the U.S. Zone, the Jewish Community in Berlin and the Jewish communities in the French Zone.

The draft agreement, which must still be ratified by the parent bodies, provides for the setting up of two trust funds, each to be composed of eight members “of high repute.” To defray future communal relief and welfare needs, these trust funds will receive from the successor organizations certain substantial lump-sum payments as well as a share of indemnification payments based on wanton Nazi destruction of the property of Germany’s erstwhile Jewish communities.

Agreements previously concluded with regard to the distribution of specific former communal property remain in force. The “Special Committee” of the JTC, which hither to administered the assets in question, will be disbanded.

The two “successor organizations” were formed not long after the end of the war with Allied approval, to recover all heirless Jewish assets, including those of former Jewish congregations, institutions and endowments. Money realized from the administration and sale of such property, generally real estate, is turned over in part to the Jewish Agency for resettlement purposes, in part to Jewish relief bodies. Disputes have arisen where small Jewish communities, established or re-established after the war, themselves lay claim to the assets of much larger pre-Hitler local communities. The present “Gemeinden” have tended to view their own financial needs as greater and more pressing than do the “successor organizations.”

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