Germany will discuss Holocaust reparations if the Israeli government makes an official request.
At issue is the reported strain on the Israeli pension system for survivors due to the influx of 175,000 Holocaust survivors who emigrated from the former Soviet Union.
“If the Israeli government wants to talk formally to the German government, we will not refuse to hold talks of this nature,” German government spokesman Thomas Steg told reporters Nov. 14, according to the Deutsche Welle German news service.
Steg made the statement after Israeli Pensions Minister Rafi Eitan said he wanted to discuss with Germany ways to supplement the 1952 Luxembourg Agreement regarding reparations.
Steg added that the massive immigration from the former Soviet Union has created a situation that was “not foreseeable in the discussions in the 1950s and 1960s. It remains to be seen whether this should lead to new negotiations.”
Noah Flug, chairman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, said he would be meeting this week with Germany’s finance minister, Peer Steinbruck, in Israel.
The suggestion that Germany make further contributions has been criticized in the Israeli press, with some observers saying that Israel has enough money to help the survivors. Germany reportedly has paid about $95 billion in reparations over the decades.