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Sinti Auschwitz victim's widow denied pension

The Local · 24 Jul 2012, 16:03

Published: 24 Jul 2012 16:03 GMT+02:00

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Her dead husband, named only as Anton B., was granted a victim’s pension in 1957, and he drew it until he died in 2009 with no problem. But when his widow applied to have the €600 a month paid to her after his death, authorities said the 1957 doctor’s report was wrong and prevented the payment.

The case has outraged German Sinti and Roma groups - up to 500,000 of whom were murdered by the Nazis during the holocaust, wrote the taz newspaper on Tuesday.

"This is, 67 years after the Holocaust, an unbelievable and unacceptable turn of events," wrote Romani Rose, head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma in a letter to North Rhine-Westphalia State Premier Hannelore Kraft.

"We will not permit this degradation of Auschwitz victims."

Anton B. was 19 years old when in March 1943, head of the SS Heinrich Himmler gave the order to round up all Sinti and Roma people still on German-occupied soil and deport them to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland.

All of Anton's ten siblings were among the 17,000 Sinti and Roma who died there. But a year later, Anton himself was deemed still fit for work by the SS doctors and in April 1944 was moved to Buchenwald concentration camp, where he was forced to work in a mine and later, to make V2 rockets, wrote the paper.

Twelve years later in 1957, doctors examining Anton confirmed that the two years he had spent in Nazi camps had directly caused permanent damage to his both his heart and nervous system. On the basis of the results of this medical exam, Anton was granted a compensatory so-called victim's pension from the state.

Eva met Anton in 1975 when he was 51 and she was 25. Despite the age gap, they fell in love and were married soon after, wrote the paper.

Anton died in 2009 aged 85, and Eva, then 59, applied to receive a widow's pension entitling her to €600 a month. But her application was denied by Düsseldorf district government, who said they had studied the doctor's notes from the 1950s and had decided that it had been a mistake to say Anton B.'s heart condition was a direct result of his internment in the concentration camp, wrote the paper.

Complicated rules surrounding widows pension for widows of Nazi victims state that the victim has to have suffered from an ailment not only directly resulting from persecution, but which also ultimately killed them. Usually, wrote the paper, cases are rejected because victims don't die of the same ailment, but strangely, in this case, it was the initial diagnosis which was called into question.

"It's understandable that the decision is hard to accept for Mr B.'s widow," a spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalia interior ministry told the paper. But there was no "scope for discretion."

Story continues below…

After three years of fighting the local authorities, Eva, now 62, is due to take her case before the Düsseldorf District Court on August 7th. A final ruling is expected in September.

"I don't want charity," Eva B told the paper, "I want justice."

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:36 July 24, 2012 by William Thirteen
i suspect the Düsseldorf district government parsed the language very carefully in order to deny her claim. Seems absurd that they accepted the doctor's for fifty-two years and only now have decided it was in error. shameful.
18:43 July 24, 2012 by catjones
I really have no understanding of DL's benefits programs, but had Anton married a young woman at age 84 would his widow been entitled to 600 for her life?

If so, talk about 'justice'.
19:52 July 24, 2012 by Redwing
Before we take sides let us not forget that medical science has moved on since 1957 when Anton B. was diagnosed. He reached the ripe old age of 85 in spite of a "heart condition". A friend of mine was diagnosed with a heart condition at the age of 22 and prescribed resting in bed for several weeks. Later it turned out that he had had a harmless murmur at the time of the examination that was never replicated. He died ten days before his 97th birthday.
20:00 July 24, 2012 by C Robert
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:33 July 24, 2012 by steel jaws
The man quite rightly was given a pension., but why should his widow be claiming at all? As I understand it, she met him long after he had been freed.
00:35 July 25, 2012 by schneebeck
"Eva met Anton in 1975 when he was 51 and she was 25. Despite the age gap, they fell in love and were married soon after" (THIRTY years after Auschwitz was closed)

"I don't want charity," Eva B told the paper, "I want justice."

Yeah right, you want justice (not the money).

But still, if they didn't see fit to re-assess his pension and health records before he died, they can't do it to his widow now. No matter if she needs the money or not, she is his widow.
00:35 July 25, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
Hang in there Eva, justice is more than money ... in the long run, you will prevail.
04:50 July 25, 2012 by wenddiver
I would say anybody who was locked up in th camps do whatever you can for them, but I see no point in sending relatives who were never your prisioner anything. It was a big war and I'm sure everybody lost something. I would like to se Russia pay reparations to Poland for their part in the original agression. Of course, publicity wise it might just be better to pay her.
09:10 July 25, 2012 by Steve1949
I don't agree. She wasn't even born during the Holocaust days. She married him 30 years after the end of the war. Her husband lived to a ripe old age of 85 and his health must not have been that bad since his wife was 26 years younger. She is just out to see what she can get and could care less about justice. I am not German but it's slowly time to get over WWII and reparations.
09:27 July 25, 2012 by christiehartshorn
Sad story. Hope everything works out well.
11:54 July 25, 2012 by steel jaws
This is quite a usual habit amongst money scroungers in Germany. An old man marries a young lady and is looked after for the rest of his life. In exchange she gets a widows pension at the cost of the state ( the taxpayer). This sort of thing happens right up into the top of politics! A former well known German chancellor comes to my mind.
13:54 July 25, 2012 by saddness
There should be reparation, but just for these people which really had to deal with. Why they just blame Germany after nearly 70 years still with this? Why not blame the Vatican for their crusades ago and their behaviour today. And who payes for the soldiers from germany and other stats which got brought to america or siberia? She had nothing to do with all this and just wants money... sorry if this offends people here
04:24 July 26, 2012 by Purple_Heart2004
Hey, I need to subsidize my pension, where can I sign up for some assorted "atrocity" absent firm evidence, 75 years after the fact??? Let's stop the crocodile tears and call it what it is, extortion.

I think my great, great, great second cousin, 7 times removed was abused by the Brits in one of their varioes Colonial enterprises where they were known to rape and murer the locals, I want a lot of cash from the Brits. Let's start with the auctioning of the Queens jewels.
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