(JTA) — Only one in four Jewish victims of the Nazis who applied for compensation from a British fund were paid, newly released documents show.
Of the 4,206 applicants for compensation from a fund given to Britain by Germany in 1964, called the Nazi Persecution Compensation scheme, only 1,015 received any money, according to the documents made public this week by the British government’s National Archives.
The awards were capped at about $4,500.
Those who requested compensation were subject to intense and insensitive questioning and nitpicking, according to British reports, and the majority were ultimately rejected. British officials questioned whether one Holocaust survivor’s suffering was greater than another, for example.
“The opening of these important historical archives will help to shed light on the post-Holocaust issues faced by survivors, as well as allowing us to read what was likely to be the first written account many survivors gave of their experiences,” Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, told the British news website Jewish News. “No doubt they will prove to be essential academic and educational resources.”
Firsthand testimony included in the documents said that cannibalism “was rampant” in the Bergen-Belsen Nazi death camp.