How Much Is a Parent Worth? Holocaust Program Says $1,800
March 17, 2006

The Hungarian government soon will begin paying family members of Holocaust victims $1,800 for each sibling or parent who was murdered, rekindling old debates about “blood money” and the limits of reparations.

The Hungarians agreed to the payments during a meeting in Budapest last week with the president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The initiative revives a 1997 program that paid Hungarian survivors $150 for each parent and $70 for each sibling who was killed in the Holocaust. Few survivors applied under the old program.

Many European countries have provided compensation to victims of the Holocaust, but Hungary’s program is unusual. Past programs in Germany, Switzerland and France, among other countries, have provided money for stolen property or have compensated survivors for the pain they themselves suffered. The Hungarian payments are different because they are connected directly to the death of a person. As a result, the payments raise tough questions about the morality of accepting money for losses endured during the Holocaust. MORE.