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German Lawmakers Vote to Retain Pensions for Victims of Nazism

Government and opposition parties joined forces in the Bundestag on Tuesday to retain the special pensions paid victims of Nazism in what had been East Germany before unification.

The ruling Christian Democratic Union, its coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party and the opposition Social Democratic Party lined up behind legislation to keep the payments, though in modified form.

The government had announced plans to scrap the pensions instituted by East Germany because they are incompatible with the national pension program, which is based on former West German practice.

According to the proposed legislation, the 10,000 beneficiaries would continue to receive monthly allowances of 1,400 marks — about $868.

But the 1,700 marks (about $1,054) paid to “fighters” against Nazism, mostly former Communist officials, would be reduced to 1,400 marks.

Many of the recipients are of Jewish origin, though few belong to the small Jewish community in what was formerly East Germany.

The major parties in the Bundestag, which is Germany’s lower house of Parliament, also agreed to allow victims of Nazism in eastern Germany to apply for reparations according to established West German criteria.

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