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Germany Improves Pensions Law for Jews Ousted from Civil Service

The West German Parliament has given its final approval to a considerably improved law dealing with pensions for former members of the German civil service, and others in related posts, who were dismissed by the Nazis for racial, religious or political reasons.

The new law, which is expected to enter into force this month, constitutes a complete revision of the 1951 “Law for Redressing National Socialist Injustice with regard to Public Servants.” Its benefits have been extended to former German university lecturers and professors who were not in a technical sense members of the German civil service; as well as to the former employees of semi-official public utilities. Further beneficiaries of the law will be certain public officials from Danzig, the Saar and areas incorporated into Germany, such as the Bohemian Moravian parts of Czechoslovakia, who were German citizens.

Full and associate professors have always been covered by the law, but not the lesser grades of teachers. The Bonn Government stated officially that this state of affairs has proved injurious to German prestige, since the latter group includes Jewish scholars who have in the meantime distinguished themselves in other countries.

Certain rights of a limited nature are granted to elected municipal officials and to those who prepared for a civil service career, but received no appointment due to Nazi persecution. If such persons have entered the German civil service after 1945, the years during which they were barred will be counted in the computation of promotion and pension rights.

With respect to former German rabbis or employees of Jewish congregations and communal bodies, the law provides a firm legal basis for the pension payments that are already being made or processed, in accordance with the “Hague Protocols” concluded between the German Federal Government and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The deadline for filing applications under the old law expired long ago. The new law provides that applications may be submitted until December 31, 1956.

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