Israel Seeks $1,500,000,000 Reparations from Germany; Delivers Note to Four Powers
Menu JTA Search

Israel Seeks $1,500,000,000 Reparations from Germany; Delivers Note to Four Powers

Download PDF for this date

The Israel Government seeks reparations from Germany of $1,500,000,000 as a “minimum claim” in behalf of the Jewish sufferers of the Nazi regime, it was announced here today.

In identical notes delivered yesterday in London, Paris and Washington and to the Soviet Minister in Tel Aviv, the Israel Government asked that this claim be placed on the agenda of the forthcoming conference of Foreign Ministers which is now being discussed in Paris. The note demanded that full powers should not be handed over to any German Government without arrangements for reparations.

“The Government of Israel trusts that your government will accept the Justice of its claim,” the note stated. “It urgently requests that the occupying powers should not hand over full powers to any German Government without express reservations being made for payment of reparations to Israel. It would welcome an early expression of your government’s views concerning the practical steps which might most effectively be taken towards implementing the proposals outlined in this note.”

The document stresses that “no German reparations can be regarded as equitable on moral or legal grounds which would not meet this minimum claim in behalf of the major sufferers of the Nazi regime. Nor can there be any approach to Germany’s rehabilitation in the community of nations until this basic measure of reparations has been effected.”


The note recalls the extermination of European Jewry and the German atrocities and stresses that Israel accepted and resettled the survivors. Therefore, it stated, Israel was the only country entitled to claim reparations and it expects Germany to pay at least indemnification to the survivors since Germany is still in possession of looted goods.

Israel, the note continued, is unable to specify the full amount of damage estimated at $6,000,000,000, but claims expenditures of $1,500,000,000 for resettlement of 500,000 immigrants. This amount is not too much for Germany, the note states, since it is equal only to the value of West Germany’s exports last year. These exports will certainly be higher this year. The note concludes by asking the big powers to make reservations for these reparations before transferring full powers to any Germany Government.

The lengthy document recounts in detail the process whereby 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated in Germany and Nazi-occupied countries and declares that the case of the Jewish people against Germany is without precedent. There is no record in history of such gigantic slaughter and rapine as that perpetrated by the German people against the Jews of Europe, the note points out.

“Over 6,000,000 were done to death by torture, starvation, mass execution and asphyxiation,” the note says. “Many were buried alive. Neither young nor old were spared. Children were torn from the arms of their mothers and flung into the furnaces. Old men and women were hunted and sent to the death camps. In Poland and in the occupied zone of Russia, over 4,000,000 Jews perished. Murder was accompanied by vast scale robbery.

“According to conservative estimates,” the note continues, “Jewish property confiscated and plundered by the Germans is authoritatively estimated to aggregate over $6,000,000,000. This includes the collective fine of 1,000,000,000 marks imposed on the Jews following the government-organized pogrom of November, 1938, as well as other fines, seizures and discriminatory taxed imposed by the Nazi authorities on German Jews, for which the German Federal Government appears to have assumed liability when it recently acknowledged itself the successor power to the Third Reich.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund