Report: Germany to improve pensions for former Jewish ghetto laborers - World Jewish Congress

Report: Germany to improve pensions for former Jewish ghetto laborers

Report: Germany to improve pensions for former Jewish ghetto laborers

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Germany's Ministry for Employment and Social Affairs is planning to amend legislation which would allow thousands of Jews who worked in ghettos during World War II to draw a better pension.

A proposal to improve the current law on such pensions was presented to an Israeli delegation in Berlin some two weeks ago by State Secretary Jörg Asmussen, the magazine 'Der Spiegel' reported Monday. A law introduced in 2002 allowed Jews who worked in the Nazi-era ghettos to claim a pension from Germany but only if they had worked "voluntarily" and "in return for remuneration". Jews who were forced to work in the ghettos at the time were subject to a separate compensation scheme.

However, former ghetto workers who applied for a pension after 1997 were only legally entitled to retroactive payments going back four years, a stipulation the German government now wants to change to grant all claimants the same pension rights dating back to 1997, 'Der Spiegel' reported.

Quoting figures from the Israeli government, the magazine said the modified legislation would see around 13,000 survivors living in Israel receive an average of € 15,000 (US$ 20,500) each in outstanding payments.

The Nazis established hundreds of ghettos to isolate Jewish communities. Many were used as transit camps for Jews before they were sent to concentration camps.