East Germany May Pay Jewish Victims of Nazis

From Times Wire Services

East Germany, reversing a policy in effect since 1952, has agreed in principle to pay reparations to Jewish victims of Nazism, officials of the World Jewish Congress said on Monday.

A spokesman for the East German Embassy in Washington confirmed that discussions on reparations are continuing.

"I can say that talks are under way between the (East) German Democratic Republic and interested organizations in the United States," embassy press officer Frank Mader said.

"But it was agreed to keep the contents of the talks confidential," he said in answer to a question about the reparations issue.

East Germany has long opposed paying reparations to Jews who survived the Holocaust, saying it bore neither moral nor historical responsibility for the crimes of the Nazis because it was not a successor government to the Nazi regime.

Under a 1952 agreement signed by the president of the World Jewish Congress and by West Germany, it was decided that Bonn pay two-thirds of reparations under a complicated formula and East Germany pay a third to the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust.

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