German Parliament Gets First Regulation to Indemnification Law

The first of the several implementation regulations to the Federal Indemnification Law for the compensation of individual claimants came before Parliament today, a full year after the law itself was passed.

Although procrastination has kept the law a dead letter and even a dead-weight, it is not yet certain whether this first implementation regulation will enter into force on its target date of October 1. The Federal Council, Upper House of the West German Parliament, today stipulated certain minor changes. If these are not accepted by the Ministry of Finance, no further action can be taken for months, since parliament has already adjourned for the eight-week summer recess.

The new regulation deals only with a narrow field, that of pensions for the widows and immediate dependents of Nazi victims whose death is indisputably and directly due to persecution. Eligible are widows until they remarry, widowers unable to maintain themselves, children while attending school, and in certain specified cases orphaned grandchildren or indigent grandparents. If the applicant earns more than $35 a month, payments will be reduced or cut off.

The pension is predicated on the hypothetical assumption that the deceased held a German civil service position in a grade comparable to his actual social and economic status. The complex pension formula says in effect that the dependents of the Nazi victim are at most entitled to two-thirds of what the German state would pay to an equivalent civil servant if the latter had suffered a fatal accident in line of duty. Minimum rates, for those meeting the numerous restrictive requirements, have been set at $48 a month for the widow, half that amount for a full orphan and less than that for half-orphans.

All German promises to the contrary notwithstanding additional implementation regulations desperately needed for carrying out the Federal Indemnification Law will not be introduced in parliament before the fall. The Federal Council has appealed to Finance Minister Fritz Schaeffer to expedite the drafting of these regulations.

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