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Refugees' Bank Accounts

Volume 466: debated on Monday 27 June 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is with his approval that pre-war German refugees from Nazi oppression now resident in this country have had their blocked savings in Germany reduced by 70 per cent. at the order of the Military Government.

This cancellation concerned that part of bank accounts in Western Germany which was blocked following the currency conversion of June, 1948, and was carried out by the three Occupying Powers as part of the currency reform operation. It was applied uniformly to all accounts and it would not have been possible to give preferential treatment to the accounts of any particular class of individuals.

Is not that answer misleading? Is it not true that these unfortunate people first of all lost 90 per cent. of their savings on the devaluation of the mark, and are they not now suffering loss of a further 70 per cent. of what is left? Surely we cannot agree to a monstrous injustice like that.

I can only say that undoubtedly cases of individual hardship occurred when this currency conversion took place, but it simply was not possible to make exceptions.