FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          AG
TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 1997                             (202) 616-2777
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C. --  More than 200 survivors of the
Holocaust who were American citizens at the time of their
persecution may be eligible for reparations from the German
government under a decision issued today by the Justice
Department's Foreign Claims Settlement Commission.

     The decision follows an extensive effort led by Attorney
General Janet Reno to identify living individuals who survived
Nazi concentration camps during World War II and were U.S.
citizens at the time.  The decision describes the criteria the
Commission will use in adjudicating the nearly 1,000 claims that
have been filed with the Holocaust Claims Program.

     The program, which is administered by the Commission, grew
out of an agreement reached between Germany and the United States
in September 1995.  Under the agreement, Germany agreed to pay
reparations to certain U.S. victims of Nazi persecution. 
     "No one knows for sure how many Americans were held in Nazi
concentration camps, much less how many still are living today,"
said Delissa Ridgway, Chair of the Commission.  "When we began
the claims program last year, we were told we would probably find
only a dozen or so.  The response to our outreach campaign has
far exceeded all expectations."

     Following the 1995 agreement, Congress passed legislation
authorizing the Commission to determine which claims are valid. 
Beginning in June 1996, the Commission, with the help of Reno,
began an extensive search for potential claimants.  By the
February 1997 deadline, the Commission had received inquiries
from thousands of individuals thinking they might be eligible.

     Today's decision is the first step in clarifying the
categories of people eligible to claim reparations, under the
1995 agreement with Germany and related legislation.  It is
expected that more than 200 individuals may be eligible to
receive compensation.  After a 15-day comment period, the
Commission will proceed to determine the validity of each
individual claim.  In September, the Commission will certify its
decisions to the State Department.  The State Department will
then use those findings to negotiate a final settlement with

     Under the 1995 agreement, Germany paid a total of three
million marks (about $2.1 million) to other previously-identified
Americans who survived Nazi concentration camps.  One of these
Americans was Hugo Princz, a survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau,
who fought a 40-year battle for reparations.  That first group of
claims was paid in early Fall 1995.

     The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission is an independent
quasi-judicial agency in the Justice Department that works to
resolve claims of U.S. citizens against foreign countries.

     Currently, the Commission is deciding claims against Albania
and registering claims against Iraq.  In 1995, the Commission
completed adjudicating more than 3,000 claims against Iran, and
prior to that decided claims against Poland, Czechoslovakia, the
Soviet Union, Egypt, China, Vietnam and Cuba.

     Copies of today's decision can be obtained at the Justice
Department's Office of Public Affairs at 202-616-2777 or at
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