Austria to compensate Holocaust survivors

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About 3,000 people have been cleared to receive the first payments from an Austrian fund to compensate Holocaust survivors, and another 3,000 should be approved shortly, the fund's chief overseer said Thursday.

Hannah Lessing, general secretary of the General Settlement Fund, told the Austria Press Agency that the first cash payments will be made by Saturday.

Lessing said the fund hopes to have processed all of the 19,300 survivors' claims by the end of 2006, although she said "some cases are very complicated."

Six thousand applications were filed from inside Austria, Lessing said.

Austria created the $210 million fund in 2001 to compensate people stripped of businesses, property, bank accounts and insurance policies under the Third Reich.

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