Friday, December 16, 2005

Austria 'begins process' of restitution to Holocaust victims/survivors


Here is what my dearest mother, the Mother of All Mothers, said about that: "Just saw that Austria is beginning to pay Holocaust victims. Those bastards - I remember how miserably anti-Semitic they were 74 years ago, when I was in kindergarten there. Saying miserable things, and pulling out my hair. I can still see a girl holding a lot of my hair in her hand. And this was before Hitler came to power in Germany."

So don't hold your breath, Ma. They have sent out letters and forms. 100 of them!

- "Austria on Thursday began the process of compensating Holocaust victims robbed under the Nazis, mailing notifications to the first survivors eligible for payments.

The fund created by Austria in 2001 to compensate those stripped of businesses, property, bank accounts and insurance policies under the Third Reich mailed letters to 100 of the 19,300 survivors who have applied.

The letters say how much the victims will receive, along with a form they must sign and return promising not to sue Austria or Austrian companies that benefited from the taken property, said Hannah Lessing, general secretary of the General Settlement Fund.

``This is the first step in payment,'' Lessing told The Associated Press. ``Now the first payments can be made in the next 10 days.''

Andreas Kohl, Austria's parliament speaker and chairman of the fund's board, said he was determined to see the first payments go out before year's end, and he pledged to devote three hours on Monday to signing another 1,300 letters.

Earlier this year, the government and Austrian companies pledged to pay $210 million to endow the fund once all Holocaust litigation against Austria was resolved.

Vienna was home to a vibrant Jewish community of some 200,000 before World War II. Today, it numbers about 7,000.

A spokeswoman for the community, Erika Jakubovits, said the group was ``very satisfied'' that the first payments would soon be made."

The Guardian, no less, calling a robbery a robbery for a change

"Peter Philips, 70, of Hertfordshire, is one of those set to receive a compensation. He said: “I’m delighted that at long last legal peace has been made. But I think the agreement negotiated by the World Jewish Congress and the Jewish Claims Conference stinks.”

The former chairman of the Austrian Restitution Group said he was expecting to receive only a tiny fraction of the money his family was owed.

But he added that he had received a number of letters from Holocaust survivors to who the payments, which are likely to run to several thousand pounds, would make a real difference."

BIG FUCKING DEAL What's that saying about the elephant laboring to give birth to a mouse?

1 comment:

Stella said...

Indeed, I won't hold my breath. Not one of my Jewish school friends survived. And it is only because my dad's visa was not renewed, and so we had to leave Vienna, that you can do this fine blog, and I can make this comment.