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Berlin Municipality Raises Old-age Pensions for Nazi Victims

Elderly victims of Nazism resident in West Berlin, and who have little income from other sources, will obtain a somewhat higher monthly pension, it was announced here today.

To qualify, a “recognized victim of Nazism” must be over 65 in the case of men and over 60 in the case of women. Provided outside income comes to less than $48 a month, or $71 for married couples, the new pension will be $52 a month for single people and $59 for couples. This amount includes the “basic old-age pension,” to which all Berliners, not just victims of Nazism, are entitled.

The new pensions, which enter into force this month, are part of a legal amendment to the “Recognition Law for Victims of Nazism” that was passed by the city parliament. The amendment increases the pension rate by about seven dollars and goes further than similar laws in other German states in its definition of who is a “recognized victim of Nazism.” Thus, the minimum term of detention at Nazi hands needed to prove eligibility has been reduced from six to three months.

All Jews who left Germany during the Nazi regime and have since returned to Berlin are automatically considered as “recognized Nazi victims.” In the past they had to prove that they had left the country under the threat of imminent arrest. Nazi victims who are not German citizens can now be recognized as “persecutes” if they lived in Germany prior to the onset of the persecution and at present maintain a legal residence in West Berlin. DP’s are similarly recognized, as long as they qualify as “stateless aliens.”

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