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Angela Merkel Photo: AFP
Angela Merkel Photo: AFP
 
 

'Merkel robbing Holocaust survivors'

German Left parties accuse gov't of deliberately delaying compensation for Holocaust survivors; 'Shameful and outrageous,' says Leftist official; Israeli FM promises to defend survivors' claims

Eldad Beck
Published: 03.22.13, 12:51 / Israel News

The German Left has launched an unprecedented attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative government, due to its Wednesday snubbing of the parliament's decision to retroactively pay compensation to Holocaust survivors who worked in the ghettos during World War II for the Nazis.

 

The coalition factions stated in the Bundestag that they will not support paying compensation to the 20,000 Holocaust survivors in question.

 

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The compensation is estimated to be between €100 and €500 million in total.


מרקל בבונדסטאג. לא משלמת פיצויים (צילום: EPA)

Merkel in the Bundestag (Photo: EPA)

 

The Bundestag has previously unanimously adopted a decision to charge the government to pay the ghetto laborers, but the government has been dragging its feet in its implementation.

 

Though the court required the German government to follow the Bundestag's decision and pay compensation retroactively beginning with 1997, the government insists on paying only from 2005, citing bureaucratic regulations.

 

Government representatives promised over the last few months that they will form an agreement to transfer the funds, but the Merkel's coalition members have reneged on their promises on Wednesday and declared they will not support the opposition parties' solution.

 

The conservative-liberal coalition did not justify the sudden shift in its stance, and neglected to raise an alternative suggestion.

 

"Outrageous and shameful"

Officials from several government offices have accused Merkel's advisers of sabotaging an agreement,

possibly for political reasons.

 

In a Yedioth Aharonoth exclusive, it was reported that a senior Merkel adviser is delaying compensation payment until Israel freezes settlement construction.

 

"Outrageous and shameful," Social-Democrats and Green party members termed the government's conduct.

 

"The coalition is robbing Holocaust survivors," accused Ulla Jelpke, spokesperson of Die Linke, an extreme Left party.

 

In a break from routine, the Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement critical of the German government.

 

"Israel is disappointed by the lack of a solution which will properly answer, within German law, the legitimate claims of Holocaust survivors who worked in the ghettos," the statement said.

 

"Despite our trust in Germany's goodwill to eventually solve this painful problem, we must not forget we are discussing an elderly population, which expects legal and practical justice be made before it's too late.

 

"The Israeli government will continue to act toward correcting this wrong," the Foreign Ministry promised.

 

Ynet and Yedioth Aharonoth have learned that the Knesset is currently considering calling in the German Ambassador for clarifications regarding the German government delays in solving the problem. 

 

 

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