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Lithuania Agrees To Pay $47M for Jewish Property

Lithuania’s outgoing chancellor agreed in principle to a lump sum transfer $47 million to the country’s Jewish community as compensation for lost Holocaust-era property.

Chancellor Deividas Matulionis, chief of staff for Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, agreed to the transfer at a meeting last week with Gunther Saathoff, director of the German government’s EVZ Foundation for compensating victims of Nazi Germany, Faina Kukliansky, the vice president of Lithuania’s Jewish community, told JTA.

The lump sum, which is due in 2014, is the lion’s share of money pledged by the government to the Jewish community in compensation talks.

Kukliansky said the government wanted to pay the money yearly in 10 installments, “but the Jewish community wanted to receive it in one lump sum, deposit it and then pay victims of Nazi crimes yearly stipends from the interest. This was the subject of the meeting.”

To date, the Jewish community has received nearly $1.13 million from the government, which will be distributed among Holocaust survivors and victims of Nazi persecution. Though the Lithuanian media mentioned 1,500 to 2,000 recipients, Kukliansky said she did not know how many there were.

“We are working to locate them right now,” she said.

Kukliansky also said she was not sure that agreements reached with the current government would be applied by the administration set to take over following national elections to be held this month.

Earlier this month, Lithuania’s central elections committee said it may probe nationalist politicians in connection with anti-Semitic leaflets that criticized the outgoing government for “wasting money” on Jewish claims.

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