Germany: No additional reparations for Holocaust survivors

Gil Yaron Published: 11.10.07, 14:42 / Israel News

Minister Rafi Eitan’s request to open the Luxembourg Agreement from 1952 rejected by German Treasury, slammed by bloggers, talkbackers. ‘A deal is a deal. What more do they want from us?’ they say

A German Treasury official responded Saturday to Israeli Minister Rafi Eitan’s request that the 1952 reparations agreement between the countries be reopened by saying that “only a short while ago we allocated some 100 million euros (about $147 million) for those who were held in labor camps during the Holocaust. This was a one-time humanitarian gesture, and we have no plans to make any additional payments.”

The Luxembourg Agreement stipulated that Germany would give Israel $833 million in money and goods toward the treatment of the survivors, who would not be permitted to sue Germany directly.

Pensioners’ Affairs Minister Eitan claimed on Friday that the agreement did not take into account the costs involved in tending to the survivors’ needs in the later stages of their lives and did not foresee the arrival of tens of thousands of Holocaust refugees from the former Soviet Union to Israel.

German officials denied Israeli reports that the matter would be discussed during Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck’s upcoming visit to the Jewish state.

“Discussions on such a complex and important matter demand planning and large teams of experts from both sides,” one official told Ynet, “and Steinbrueck’s entourage during this trip to Israel will be very small.”

Young German bloggers and talkbackers harshly criticized Eitan’s request for additional payments, saying Israel was “not ready to put the past behind it despite the fact that 60 years have passed since the Holocaust ended”.

“A deal is a deal. What more do they want from us? It is absurd that a generation that did not murder will have to pay a generation that was not murdered,” a response posted on one of the German news websites read.

Several reports published on the matter said Israel was in fact asking that Germany pay for the Jewish state’s “neglectful treatment” of its Holocaust survivors.

Other personal blogs posted typical anti-Semitic caricatures of the “greedy Jew”.