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WWII ghetto survivors win court victory over pensions

3rd June 2009, Comments0 comments

In 2002, the German parliament passed a law allowing Jewish workers to claim pension payments, but over 90 percent of the 70,000 applications were rejected because they could not prove that they had been paid by the Nazis for their work.

Berlin -- Jews who worked for the Nazis in ghettos in eastern Europe during World War II are now entitled to claim pension payments, following a German court decision on Tuesday.

In 2002, the German parliament passed a law allowing Jewish workers to claim pension payments, but over 90 percent of the 70,000 applications were rejected because they could not prove that they had been paid by the Nazis for their work.

Many were also refused because applicants could not prove they had worked willingly, and were therefore covered by one-off compensation out of a fund set up by the German government and firms in 2000.

Germany attracted widespread criticism for not fully appreciating what conditions were like in ghettos in cities like Krakow in Poland where millions of Jews were crammed before being transferred to death camps.

A court in Kassel, western Germany, ruled on Tuesday that being paid in food -- even if it was a bowl of soup -- qualified them as eligible, as did any money paid to central Jewish associations set up in the ghettos.

Workers are also eligible if they could prove they had some influence on what work they did.

AFP/Expatica

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