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Germany expands compensation for Holocaust victims

Posted November. 17, 2012 02:10,   


The German government on Thursday said it will expand compensation for victims of Nazi crimes in World War II who never received damages.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble made the announcement at Berlin’s Jewish Museum, saying, “We still don`t know the names of all of the victims.”

Germany announced revisions to the 1952 Luxembourg Agreement with Israel, which the former West Germany assumed responsibility for Holocaust crimes committed by the Nazis. Berlin has thus far paid about 70 billion euros (89 billion U.S. dollars) in compensation to victims.

Stuart Eizenstat, former U.S. ambassador to the European Union, said Germany`s continued acknowledgement of responsibility for Nazi crimes is a tribute to the country and its officials through both compensation payments and actions. “It’s a very sharp contrast to what Japan has done in recognizing their responsibilities,” he said.

Schaeuble said that in Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics, there are Jews who have yet to be recognized as Nazi victims, adding the German government will provide home care for 100,000 Holocaust survivors.

German media projected that the latest measures will benefit some 80,000 to 100,000 Jews in Eastern Europe. Around 500,000 Holocaust survivors are believed to be alive.

Under the revised treaty, Jewish victims of the Nazis in former communist states will get an immediate payment of 2,556 euros (3,190 dollars). The amendment also increases their monthly pension to 300 euros (382 dollars) from 200 (255 dollars) to 260 euros (331 dollars) that they had been receiving. The German government, which increased the pension 11 percent last year, also pledged to raise the amount next year and in 2014.

“The crimes of the Holocaust were so inconceivably enormous,” said the German finance minister, adding "When doing this work for the victims of persecution, everyone is conscious that we cannot undo the terrible events or the suffering and the injustice that was inflicted on millions of people and that no compensation or reparation can change anything about that."