Jewish Congress Issues Analysis on German Compensation Law

The first comprehensive analysis of West German Federal legislation providing compensation to victims of Nazi persecution, was issued today by the World Jewish Congress’ Institute of Jewish Affairs.

The Federal Supplementary Indemnification Law, also known as the Federal General Claims Law, was enacted as a result of commitments in the so-called “contractual agreement” – the proposed but not yet valid treaty to end the state of occupation – and to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, as a result of the negotiations conducted in The Hague, by which the Federal Republic is also paying $822,000,000 to Israel and world Jewish organizations for damages to Jews resulting from Nazi persecution.

In addition, the study contains an analysis of a number of special laws in this field. These laws specifically provide compensation to those who suffered damages under Nazi laws and practices as employees in German public services; as officials and employees of Jewish communal institutions; as victims of war; who were denied social insurance benefits, and to victims of Nazi medical experiments.

The General Claims Law defines those to be compensated as “persecutees” who suffered damages because they were persecuted “on racial and religious grounds, or because of their ideological convictions (called ‘persecution grounds’) by illegal National Socialist acts, and thereby suffered damage to life, limb, health, liberty, property, possessions, or in their economic and vocational advancement. “

The WJC report describes who is to be defined as a persecutee as well as his surviving heirs; the amounts of benefits persecutees may claim for their individual damages; where, when and how persecutees may file applications for their claims, how claims are to be adjudicated; and the order and priority for the satisfaction of these various claims. It contains a sample application form.

Under a special law, German public servants are entitled to compensation if they suffered the following damages for racial, religious, ideological or political reasons at the hands of the Nazis; discontinuance of service by virtue of a penal decision; expulsion from office; dismissal without or with decreased pension; premature pensioning off; temporary suspension; demotion or non-promotion.

Special regulations provide for the payment, in the form of annuities on the basis of the individual’s former overall salary, to former officials and employees, or their eligible heirs, of Jewish communities and public institutions – cultural, religious, health, welfare, aged, child-care and educational- in the whole of Germany. These regulations are also the result of The Hague negotiations.

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