Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Berlin - Germany Expanding Compensation for Holocaust Survivors

Published on: November 15, 2012 08:12 AM
By: AP
Change text size Text Size  
Bookmark and Share
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Chairman of the Jewish Claims Conference Julius Berman (C-L) signs the new article 2 agreement for compensation to the victims of the Nazis during a ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany, 15 November 2012. The new agreement simplifies the previous regulations and allows reparations to victims, mainly in eastern Europe, who have not received compensation.  EPA/WOLFGANG KUMMGerman Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Chairman of the Jewish Claims Conference Julius Berman (C-L) signs the new article 2 agreement for compensation to the victims of the Nazis during a ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany, 15 November 2012. The new agreement simplifies the previous regulations and allows reparations to victims, mainly in eastern Europe, who have not received compensation.  EPA/WOLFGANG KUMM

Berlin - Sixty years after a landmark accord started German government compensation for victims of Nazi crimes, fund administrators and German officials say payments to Holocaust survivors are needed more than ever as they enter their final years.

Advertisement:

Most Holocaust survivors experienced extreme trauma as children, suffered serious malnutrition, and lost almost all of their relatives - leaving them today with severe psychological and medical problems, and little or no family support network to help them cope.

In acknowledgement of that, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was to sign off officially Thursday on revisions to the original 1952 compensation treaty, increasing pensions for those living in eastern Europe and broadening who is eligible for payments. Contributions to home care for survivors already have been increased.

“Survivors are passing away on a daily basis but the other side is that individual survivors are needing more help than ever,” the Chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Julius Berman, told The Associated Press.

“While a person came out of the camps very young and eventually developed a life of their own over the years, the impact of what happened at the beginning is now coming to the fore. Whether it’s mentally or physically, they’re sicker than their peers of the same age.”

Germany has paid - primarily to Jewish survivors - some (EURO)70 billion ($89 billion) in compensation overall for Nazi crimes since the agreement was signed in 1952.

In one change to the treaty that Germany agreed to earlier this year, the country will provide compensation payments to a new category of Nazi victims - some 80,000 Jews who fled ahead of the advancing German army and mobile killing squads and eventually resettled in the former Soviet Union.

They became eligible Nov. 1 for one-time payments of (EURO)2,556 ($3,253). The amendment also formalizes an increase in pensions for Holocaust survivors living in formerly communist eastern Europe to the same as those living elsewhere - (EURO)300 ($382) per month - from the (EURO)200 to (EURO)260 ($255 to $331) they had been receiving.

Schaeuble said on Inforadio ahead of the signing ceremony at the Jewish Museum that once Germany and the Claims Conference had identified the additional victims living in the east, it was only natural to include them in the compensation agreement.

“We still do not know the names of all of the victims,” Schaeuble said. “The crimes of the Holocaust were so inconceivably enormous that you can’t know all of the victims or those with claims, so you have to adjust it again and again.”

Germany already increased payments this year for home care for Holocaust survivors by 15 percent over 2011, and has pledged to raise that further in 2013 and 2014.

Compensation has been ever evolving since the 1952 agreement, with annual negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government on who should receive funds and how much will be paid.

Still, even 67 years after the end of World War II, there is much to set right, said Stuart Eizenstat, the former U.S. ambassador to the European Union who serves as the Claims Conference’s special negotiator.

“One of the things that drives me is that with all of that, the best surveys out there are there are probably 500,000 survivors alive today worldwide and half of them are in poverty or very close to the poverty line,” he told the AP. “This is an ongoing responsibility - this is not the end of the road.”

Eizenstat said it is a tribute to Germany and officials there that the country continues to acknowledge responsibility for Nazi-era crimes - both with the compensation payments and also in its actions.

“I was very much taken by the degree to which they had come to terms with World War II and were dealing with its consequences, through mandatory Holocaust education; through seemingly small, but important, things like putting plaques in front of homes of Jews who had been expelled; by building a monumental above-ground Holocaust memorial right in the center of reunified Berlin,” he said.

“It’s a very sharp contrast to what Japan has done in recognizing their responsibilities… it’s quite striking.”

Conference chairman Berman said the fact that the German government decided to host an event to announce the latest results of negotiations with the Claims Conference at a Berlin event shows it remains committed.

“To me the most significant part of this event ... is that the German government wanted it ... telling again not only the whole world but more importantly telling the German people that it’s not over,” he said.


More of today's headlines

Cairo - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi condemned Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip as unacceptable on Thursday, in his harshest public criticism of Egypt's... Israel - Gaza terrorists continued to fire rockets into southern Israel on Thursday morning killing three people and injuring two others in Kiryat Malachi. According...

 

You can now automatically hide comments - New!

Don't worry, you can always display comments when you need to.

Total2

Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 15, 2012 at 09:13 AM Insider Says:

BP is paying billions for spilling some oil. The Nazis, yemach shemom bezichron, have paid ONLY 89 billion for the MURDER of more than 6,000,000 innocent Jewihs souls and for the hurt and damage that they deliberately and meliciously caused. And for this Julius Berman, a good man, is happy ???

2

 Nov 15, 2012 at 10:52 AM Kzler Says:

Reply to #1  
Insider Says:

BP is paying billions for spilling some oil. The Nazis, yemach shemom bezichron, have paid ONLY 89 billion for the MURDER of more than 6,000,000 innocent Jewihs souls and for the hurt and damage that they deliberately and meliciously caused. And for this Julius Berman, a good man, is happy ???

As a former concentration camp inmate I can testify it is far worse. The "Claim Conference" manned by Jews and funded by Germans has assets of 800 million dollars as of 2010. To whom will the money and leeches have jobs and are "employed" by the "claim conference"

3

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!