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Thursday, December 4, 1997 Published at 23:13 GMT


2000 deadline for Nazi persecution pay-outs
image: [ Jewish delegates at the Nazi gold conference ]
Jewish delegates at the Nazi gold conference

Holocaust survivors due for compensation from a fund set up to help victims of Nazi persecution should receive their cash before the end of the millennium, a conference has decided.

The deadline, set by the United States and backed by Britain, looked to be generally accepted by the 41 other nations attending the London conference on Nazi gold.

At the end of the three-day conference the US Under Secretary of State, Stuart Eizenstat, said: "If all of this is not completed by then ... we will have failed to do as much justice in an imperfect world as we are capable of doing."

The international fund to help those persecuted during World War II was set up at the start of the conference.

[ image: A German delegate reflects]
A German delegate reflects
It immediately received contributions of more than $14m (8.2m) from nine countries.

But Jewish leaders at the conference criticised the Vatican for not opening its records on gold transactions during the war.

The World Jewish Congress, quoting declassified documents, accused the Vatican of keeping 200 million Swiss francs shipped in gold coins from the Nazi puppet government in Croatia and of dealing with Germany's Reichsbank, through Swiss banks.

The two-member Vatican delegation switched from participant to observer status before the conference began and said nothing in response to demands to open archives.

A second conference at the Holocaust Museum in Washington next year will focus on other plundered property, including artworks and church properties seized by the Nazis then confiscated as Communist rule encompassed East Europe at the end of the war.

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Internet Links

Official Conference Website

US State Department report on Nazi gold - May 1997

Information on dormant Swiss bank accounts

Information on the Tripartite Gold Commission

Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial site

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