"Their current monthly pension gives from €28 (= $32) to €60 (= $68), while Waffen-SS volunteers received €1.500 (= $1.706)."
"Madam Chancellor, there are less than 150 surviving Dutch Ghetto Workers. They say ‘Hitler killed us brutally! Today’s Germany is killing us softly!’"
"The Federal Republic of Germany must immediately redeem its good name...Further procrastination will be construed as Germany abandoning its historical moral responsibility - a shocking message to the next generation."
Paris, 20 August 2018
In a letter to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, highlighted the “scandalous situation of Ghetto Child Forced Labourer pensions”... “as their numbers dwindle, demanding urgent justice”... “they are currently subject to unjust bureaucratic foot-dragging and heartless legal obstacles.”
The letter continued: “For this analysis, please note an important official German publication: ‘Anerkennung der Arbeit im Ghetto’, dated July 11, 2014,on the website of the Bundesregierung":
SEE text also in PDF attachment: "Federal Government webpage article"
“This highlights how, in April 2014, the Bundestag had finally and unanimously decided on a 'worthy pension' (‘angemessene Rente’) for ‘all’ Holocaust Ghetto workers..."
"In addition, please recall the spirit of your public statement as Chancellor during a visit to Israel in April 2007":
SEE text also in PDF attachment: "Federal Foreign Office webpage article"
"Only by fully accepting its enduring responsibility for this most appalling period and for the cruellest crimes in its history can my country, can Germany, shape the future. There is no alternative."
Samuels expressed shock that, “in reality, those survivors born after 1934 were not deemed worthy of a pension and the ‘lucky’ recipients were fobbed off with a monthly payment of between €11,00 (= $12,50) and €60,00 (= $68,26), at today’s valuation. Most of these payments only began in 2013, though promised - but never delivered - as retroactive since 1997.”
In the case of Dutch applicants a one-time “compensation” payment was made selectively, some twenty years after the war, then equivalent to €1.442,00 ($1,642.91). This figure was presented as final reparations to cover the loss of parents and property, without consideration of the rights of other relatives, and other material losses. These applications were processed at random and most were rejected.
Samuels recalled how, “in 1998, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was called to Bonn by then Federal Labour Minister, Norbert Blum. Apparently, service in the Wehrmacht under Hitler endowed a pension - even to war widows...”, that, “following German reunification, thousands of requests were arriving, not just from the former East Germany, but also from Nazi collaborators in the former East European Communist countries, especially Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine,even fugitives in Latin America etc... We were asked to identify the military units responsible for war crimes to save the Federal Republic from a pension tsunami.”
He continued, “we noted that for over 50 years, the Justice Ministry had cooperated with Simon Wiesenthal, while there - just down the road in Bonn, then capital of West Germany - the families of countless Nazi Wehrmacht, were receiving a ‘worthy pension’.”
The Centre was asked by a Dutch claimant to assist in solving the discriminatory treatment of, especially Dutch Child Ghetto forced labourers. He calls them a "forgotten group of Holocaust victims, who deserve better than the strict rules and regulations imposed by German law. That is not just!”, he argued.
This mid-80s claimant began to receive his pension in 2013: €11,96 (= $13,61) per month. Following his complaints, this was gradually increased to €28,81 (= $32,81).
Samuels stressed that, “in view of our office’s intervention, the Dutch income tax authority assured us that it would end taxation of these so-called 'pensions' ”... “In contradistinction, however, from the end of the War the new Federal Germany paid up to €1.500,00 (= $1.708,42) monthly, to 25,000 Dutch former volunteer Waffen-SS, ‘tax-free’.”
The letter emphasized that, “today, there are less than 150 Ghetto labourer survivors in the Netherlands. A similar attrition rate prevails among survivors in all communities.”
The Centre urged the Federal Republic of Germany "to immediately, without prejudice, redeem its good name... Further procrastination will be construed as Germany abandoning its historical moral responsibility - a shocking message to the next generation."
A profile of the victims of German pensions' injustice, depicts a claimant at the age of 5, who lived and worked in the Amsterdam ghetto, where he was forced to work 12 hours daily and was deported at age 7 to a concentration camp, where he was ordered to pull bodies to mass graves.
Our claimants' “J’Accuse” is loud and clear: “Hitler killed us brutally! Today’s Germany is killing us softly!”...
“As their numbers dwindle, justice is an urgency. If not now - when?” concluded Samuels.