• Germany's news in English
 

Holocaust compensation reaches eastern Europe

Published: 16 Nov 2012 06:47 GMT+01:00

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and JCC head Julius Berman attended a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the Luxembourg Agreement under which West Germany assumed responsibility for the Nazis' crimes and paid reparations.

During the solemn event at Berlin's Jewish Museum, they sealed a new pact widening the group of people to receive payments, taking in survivors long ineligible because they lived behind the Iron Curtain, and tailoring compensation to ageing recipients' needs.

"The Holocaust survivors who are alive today were young when they emerged from the ashes, but much older before their time," Berman said.

"Old age is hard enough, but many survivors are now feeling in full the effects of the starvation and forced labour of their youths. Their finances have suffered from the years of lost education and lost family assets. And with their careers and child rearing behind them, they have more time alone with their memories of terror and loss."

Under the agreement, an additional 80,000 Holocaust survivors in eastern Europe will receive compensation. It also formalises an entitlement for about 100,000 Jewish victims of the Nazis to home care services.

"This is direct assistance which will immediately benefit those concerned," Schäuble said. "In so doing, Germany is renewing its commitment to its historical responsibility towards Jewish victims of the Holocaust."

Schäuble noted that the task of ensuring reparations to all survivors was complicated by the unfathomable dimensions of the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered, and that payments were a gesture that could only fall short in light of their suffering.

"The crime of the Holocaust was so unimaginably huge that we don't know the names of all of those killed, nor of all those who are entitled to make claims and that is why we have to keep making adjustments," he told Berlin public broadcaster rbb-inforadio earlier.

The JCC has worked to ensure compensation for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution since 1951 and fights for the return of Jewish property stolen during the Holocaust.

It says there are around 500,000 Holocaust survivors still alive today.

Thursday's agreement was an update of an extension dating from 1992, two years after Germany reunified following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Jewish victims of the Nazis who have never received compensation will get an immediate payment of about €2,500. Those who spent at least three months in a concentration camp or ghetto or spent six months in hiding are entitled to a monthly pension of €300.

The JCC estimates the accord will cost Berlin about $300 million. Under the Luxembourg Agreement signed on September 10, 1952, West Germany accepted responsibility for the Nazi genocide and paid more than three billion marks (about €1.5 billion) to the state of Israel and the JCC.

It was widely seen as West Germany's first major step back into the community of nations after World War II. The communist East German government saw itself as a bulwark against fascism and rejected any claim to liability for the Nazis' crimes.

To date, Germany has paid an estimated $70 billion to Holocaust survivors and programmes that aid survivors, according to the JCC.

Stuart E. Eizenstat, a former US ambassador to the European Union who now serves as a special negotiator for the JCC, said Germany was exemplary in owning up to its historical crimes.

"Never before or since has a defeated nation paid individuals for wartime injuries," he said.

   

"For 60 years, post-war Germany has been writing a new chapter in world history in which its people can say to the world that 'What we did was unforgivable, but what we have done to compensate our victims has been unique.'"

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:44 November 16, 2012 by Anny One again
UK to end financial aid to India by 2015

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20265583

If you catch my drift !
12:59 November 16, 2012 by freechoice
Was watching the WW2 documentary yesterday, and it was talking about Henrich Himmler. He was really one sick bastard. After having informed of the physiological effects on the soldiers who did the masscare of the Jews using machine guns squads. He thought maybe Gas Chambers would be nicer option to free them from the guilt.
14:15 November 16, 2012 by ND1000
Thats a great plan. What about the non Jews, what do they get?
16:54 November 16, 2012 by raandy
Thats very true,ND1000, there were lots of non jews in those death camps.
18:53 November 16, 2012 by septiSeverus
Unique indeed.....67 years after the war, $70 billion paid out and still counting. Its about the money.
20:50 November 16, 2012 by michael valerio
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
23:51 November 16, 2012 by trevzns
No German taxpayers are not stupid.

And its Holocaust Golden Calf....Moses lived to be 120 years and Aaron the maker of the golden calf lived to be.....?

Hopefully cash cows today will not live that long?
09:08 November 17, 2012 by Englishted
@Anny One again,

Not the same at all .So drift off .

Would you like the U.K. to support your space program ,while many of the population are below the poverty line and live in slums.
23:18 November 17, 2012 by iSlam-mudslime
...
00:43 November 18, 2012 by Anny One again
@Englishted

I think thats a little bit a cheap excuse.

Germany gave Israel a lot of material and financial Assistance,We don`t asked and don`t have to asked them what they have done with Money.Just think about the international Headlines.On the other hand we know today that a nuclear development program is very expensive.Do you think that just the many Kibbuz earned the cost of such a program ?While a quarter of orthodox Jews studying the Holy Books every Day?

"Brothers in arms - Israel's secret pact with Pretoria"The clandestine alliance between Israel and the apartheid regime,cemented with the ultimate gift of friendship - A-bomb technology

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/feb/07/southafrica.israel

Yeah thats right,with a apardheit regime !!

Remember Ed Fagan;still wearing an ABCNEWS 20/20 microphone, could be heard "haggling over the fees, and then boasting of his success". He was recorded saying, "I got the legal fees up, ... We did great, we did great we just got another, we just got some more money".http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Fagan

But what about the UK and India?What India do with the money. is their business as well. Moreover, it could have been connected to earmarks. But there is obviously a "good reason" not to debate or mention the colonial crimes and the damage. Perhaps the British government had a false association with the film title "slum dog millionaire.
14:15 November 18, 2012 by Englishted
@ Anny One again

I would ask ,would you agree there are more people of Indian descent living in the U.K. now than there were Brits living in India during the whole time it was under British control? ,would you not agree that the amount of money spent on social welfare to people of sub -continental descent far exceeds the money removed from India in the Raj ,if you take into account the infrastructure the British built in India.

Would you think it correct if the U.K. demanded payment from Italy for the Roman occupation of Britain (also about 400 years ) even though we could say "what did the Romans ever do for us " .
17:49 November 18, 2012 by raandy
You know what these folks are saying "better late than never"
09:41 November 19, 2012 by Anny One again
@Englishted

Quot-"I would ask ,would you agree there are more people of Indian descent living in the U.K. now than there were Brits living in India during the whole time it was under British control?"-Quot

Thankfully, since then the British food is edible at least, I know that Curry is your national dish.And of course, fewer Britons were living in India than vice versa. They were eventually distributed around the whole world,right?

Quot-"Would you not agree that the amount of money spent on social welfare to people of sub -continental descent far exceeds the money removed from India in the Raj ,if you take into account the infrastructure the British built in India.!-Quot

I'm sure in 300 years to 1947, India would have even without the British eventually changed its infrastructure.Also you think the UK actually build the infrastructure for the Indian people? Not for them self (the UK)?As one for centuries called this land as his own ?Your Queen was even the Empress of India.

China and India together held until the 17th century 70% of the worlds GDP. The best example can be seen for the last 20 years in the rapidly emerging economies such as China and India.

Quot-" Would you think it correct if the U.K. demanded payment from Italy for the Roman occupation of Britain (also about 400 years ) even though we could say "what did the Romans ever do for us "-Quot.

They teach you to drink from cups and not from skulls anymore.

Its seems after all you have no sense of a national wrongdoing?Don`t you? Although I have nothing to do with the Holocaust,but I feel a certain responsibility to the Jewish people.Although I am sometimes very critical, but not anti-Semitic
Today's headlines
Cologne evacuates 20,000 after bomb find
The bomb is burrowed deep in the ground. Photo: DPA

Cologne evacuates 20,000 after bomb find

Authorities In Cologne have begun the biggest evacuation since Second World War of around 20,000 people after a 1,000 kg bomb was found in the north-east of the city. READ  

Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty
Photo: DPA

Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government tricked the public into believing the USA was prepared to sign a so-called 'no-spy agreement' with Germany ahead of elections in 2013, a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung claimed on Wednesday. READ  

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman
Photo: DPA

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman

Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the Forbes list of the world's most powerful women for the fifth straight year but Hillary Clinton is snapping at her heels, the magazine said on Tuesday. READ  

German public shop with renewed confidence
People throng the halls of the Milaneo shopping centre in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA

German public shop with renewed confidence

Consumer confidence in Germany is at its highest in 13.5 years, as the positive economic outlook and low inflation persuade consumers to open their purses, a poll found on Wednesday. READ  

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch
Locals enjoy the normally tranquil Seeburger See

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch

A couple of friends who went for a quiet spot of fishing on Lake Seeburg in Lower Saxony on Monday got the fright of their life when they pulled up their net to find an artillery shell inside. READ  

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday
Leipzig's impressive skyline. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday

This weekend the city of Leipzig is celebrating its 1,000th anniversary, since it was first mentioned by the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015. The Local gives some insight into one of Germany's most vibrant cities. READ  

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7
File photo: DPA

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7

German authorities have reintroduced border controls two weeks before the leaders of the G7 economies gather in Elmau, southern Bavaria. READ  

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions
Photo: DPA file photo

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions

Schleswig Holstein's exports to Russia have dropped by 31 percent, state finance minister Reinhard Meyer said in comments reported by the Hamburger Abendblatt on Tuesday. READ  

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq
The twin brothers are both reported to have died in suicide attacks. Photo: Dabiq magazine

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq

German twins from Castrop-Rauxel in North Rhine-Westphalia have died fighting for the Islamist group Isis in Iraq, the militia's official magazine reported in its latest publication. READ  

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink
Photo: DPA

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink

Thieves have stolen toilet seats, taps and loo paper holders from the new interior ministry building in Berlin, making it difficult for mandarins to get comfortable in their new surroundings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,641
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd