Berlin squabbles over East German POW compensation

The German government has yet to determine their spending for the compensation of former East German war prisoners.

“We are currently negotiating how the money can be used this year,” Christoph Bergner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, told Berlin daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung in the Wednesday edition. “I hope that we reach a successful solution.”

Victims can already submit applications for the compensation, Bergner acknowledged.

At the end of 2007, the German government decided to begin compensating POWs that returned to East Germany after the war on a sliding scale in 2009. The brutal treatment the soldiers were often subjected to in the Soviet Union inspired officials to set aside some €16 million for payments.

After the decision, some demanded that the government start payments sooner. According to conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) representative Arnold Vaatz, the finance ministry has rejected these demands, and the topic should be discussed in a coalition committee.

Hans-Joachim Hacker, Social Democrat (SPD) representative blamed the delay on the CDU, and encouraged the government leaders to find a solution.

Berger told the paper that negotiations over coverage options continue and it remains unclear whether they will reach an agreement, but that he is aiming for the earliest possible payment to victims.