- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
Germany expanding compensation for Nazi victims
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.
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 acknowledgment of that, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble officially signed off 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,” Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, told The Associated Press before the ceremony.
“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,” he said. “Whether it’s mentally or physically, they’re sicker than their peers of the same age.”
Germany has paid – primarily to Jewish survivors – some $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 on Nov. 1 for one-time payments of $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 – $382 per month – from the $255 to $331 they had been receiving.
Mr. Schaeuble said on Inforadio before the signing ceremony at Berlin’s 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,” Mr. 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.”
Mr. 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.
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Craigslist killers: Police say newlyweds stabbed man for thrills
- NYC alarms with notice: Immediately surrender your rifle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
White House pets gone wild!