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Jewish Groups Criticize “economic Damage” Legislation for Nazi Victims

The third implementation regulation to the amended version of the Federal Indemnification Law for individual Nazi victims has now entered into force in West Germany through its publication in the Federal Gazette. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Central Council of Jews in Germany and other organizations have criticized the implementing regulation as inadequate.

The regulation specifies what compensation is to be granted in cases where the careers of one-time German residents have been disrupted because of racial, political or religious persecution. The legislative provision, which classifies such cases as “injury to professional advancement.” renders Jews in this category eligible for pensions if they are more than 65 years old or incapacitated to the extent of at least 50 percent, and if they meet a series of other conditions.

The pensions range from $24 to $143 per month and are fixed according to complex calculations predicated upon the hypothetical assumption that the Nazi victim held a German civil service post. More than one-fourth of the one million claims presently on file at German indemnification offices demand damages springing from injuries to employment and the interruption of careers in business and the professions, and hence will fall under the provisions of the proposed regulation.

The Claims Conference explained that the yardstick for he payment of economic damages under the Federal Indemnification Law, was intended to be the difference between earned income and income which would have accrued in the absence of Nazi persecution. The implementing regulation, however, fixes the standards for income which would have accrued, at levels so low that many thousands of Nazi victims who suffered economic losses will be stripped completely of all benefits, or the compensation they will receive will be grossly disproportionate to the losses sustained. Great numbers of Nazi victims would also be deprived of annuities for economic damage to which they were entitled.

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