View all New York Times newsletters. On Thursday, Mr. Kent opened his speech with a quotation from a German poet, Heinrich Heine, who converted to Christianity from Judaism. Kent drew a parallel, reflecting how the process of working with the former enemy toward a common goal has altered his perception.
Kent said. Not that the process is always smooth. Although the compensation has been supported through the years by German governments on both sides of the political spectrum, they must negotiate within the constraints of a federal budget. Julius Berman, the chairman of the claims conference, said that despite everything that has been accomplished, there remain as many as 50, victims who have never received compensation in any form.
Berman also points to thousands of people scarred by the trauma of losing their parents, and their childhood, to the Nazis as a group still deserving recognition. Berman said of the compensation program.
Asked whether, given the millions of dollars that Germany is now pledging to help weaker economies in the euro zone, there were thoughts that 60 years of payments to survivors was enough, Werner Gatzer, who leads the negotiations for the Germans, shook his head. Gatzer said. Tell us what you think. Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. Newsletter Sign Up Continue reading the main story Please verify you're not a robot by clicking the box. Invalid email address.
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I don't want to run after a German and spit in his face. I don't want to run after anybody. I want to sit here and build here. I'm not going to go to America to take part in a vigil against Adenauer. In , Israeli authorities made a claim to the four powers occupying post-war Germany regarding compensation and reimbursement, based on the fact that Israel had absorbed and resettled , Holocaust survivors.
They also figured that six billion dollars worth of Jewish property had been pillaged by the Nazis, but stressed that the Germans could never make up for what they did with any type of material recompense. Negotiations leading to the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany began in March , and were conducted between representatives of the government of the Federal Republic, the government of the State of Israel, and representatives of the World Jewish Congress, headed by Dr.
These discussions led to a bitter controversy in Israel, as the coalition government, headed by David Ben-Gurion , claimed that reparations were necessary to restore what was stolen from the victims of the Holocaust. The Arab League strongly opposed the motion and threatened a boycott of the Federal Republic of Germany after it passed the restitution agreement, but the plan was abandoned due to economic considerations, namely that the Arab League would suffer far more from losing trade with West Germany than West Germany would from the Arab League.
Public debate was among the fiercest in Israeli history.
Reparations for Nazi Victims in Postwar Europe
Opposition to the agreement came from both the right Herut and the General Zionists and the left Mapam of the political spectrum; both sides argued that accepting reparation payments was the equivalent of forgiving the Nazis for their crimes. On 5 November , Yaakov Hazan of Mapam said in the Knesset: " Nazism is rearing its ugly head again in Germany, and our so-called Western 'friends' are nurturing that Nazism; they are resurrecting Nazi Germany Our army, the Israel Defense Forces , will be in the same camp as the Nazi army, and the Nazis will begin infiltrating here not as our most terrible enemies, but rather as our allies At a session of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in September , Yitzhak Ben-Aharon , then a Mapam MK, stated, "I am not assuming that there are people who believe that Germany will pay a total of three billion marks, over a period of 12 years, and that this is no empty promise The Israeli government will obtain nothing but a piece of paper referring to three billion marks.
And all this is only intended to mislead the public and claim the government has attained Anticipating the debate in the Knesset on 7 January , all adjacent roads were blocked. Roadblocks and wire fences were set up around the building and the IDF was prepared to suppress an insurrection.
Nazi Gold Bibliography | National Archives
The rally, gathered by the agreement's opponents drew 15, people and the riots that ensued would be the most significant attempt in Israeli history to overturn a democratically made Knesset decision. The decision was ultimately accepted by 61—50 margin, but not before the advancing riots interrupted the plenum debate for the first time in the Knesset history.
Following a passionate and dramatic speech, Menachem Begin led the protesters towards the Knesset. Begin referred to the Altalena Affair in , when the IDF shelled a ship carrying arms for the Irgun by order of Ben Gurion, saying, "When you fired at me with cannon, I gave the order: 'Don't [return fire]! After five hours of rioting, the police took control of the situation using hoses and tear gas. Hundreds were arrested; about protesters and policemen were injured. The decision did not end the protests.
In October Dov Shilansky was arrested near the Foreign Ministry building, carrying a pack of dynamite.
Dr. Regula Ludi
In his trial, he was accused of being a member of an underground organization against the Reparations Agreement and was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Despite the protests, the agreement was signed in September , and West Germany paid Israel a sum of 3 billion marks over the next fourteen years; million marks were paid to the World Jewish Congress.
The payments were made to the State of Israel as the heir to those victims who had no surviving family. The money was invested in the country's infrastructure, and played an important role in establishing the economy of the new state. Israel at the time faced a deep economic crisis and was heavily dependent on donations by foreign Jews, and the reparations, along with these donations, would help turn Israel into an economically viable country.
The reparations were paid directly to the headquarters of the Israeli purchase delegation in Cologne , which received the money from the German government in annual installments. The delegation then bought goods and shipped them to Israel, receiving its orders from a Tel Aviv -based company that had been set up to decide what to purchase and for whom. A great part of the reparations money went into purchasing equipment and raw materials for companies that were owned by the government, the Jewish Agency , and the Histadrut labor union. Notably, much of that money went into purchasing equipment for about 1, industrial plants; two-thirds of this money was given to 36 factories, most of them owned by the Histadrut.
At the same time, hundreds of other plants, mostly privately owned ones, received minimal assistance with reparations money.
From to , the reparations money funded around one-third of investment in Israel's electrical system, helping it to triple its capacity, and nearly half the total investment in Israel Railways , which obtained German-made rolling stock, tracks, and signaling equipment with reparations money. The reparations were also used to purchase German-made machinery for developing the water supply, oil drilling, mining equipment for use in extracting copper from the Timna Valley mines, and heavy equipment for agriculture and construction such as combines, tractors, and trucks. Funds from the reparations were also used for port development; the Port of Haifa was able to obtain new cranes, including a floating crane that was named Bar Kokhba.
Yad Vashem noted that "in the s, Jews began making claims for property stolen in Eastern Europe. Various groups also began investigating what happened to money deposited in Swiss banks by Jews outside of Switzerland who were later murdered in the Holocaust, and what happened to money deposited by various Nazis in Swiss banks. In addition, individual companies many of them based in Germany began to be pressured by survivor groups to compensate former forced laborers.
In response, early in , the German government proclaimed the establishment of a fund with money from these companies to help needy Holocaust survivors. A similar fund was set up by the Swiss, as was a Hungarian fund for compensation of Holocaust victims and their heirs. At the close of the s, discussions of compensation were held by insurance companies that had before the war insured Jews who were later murdered by the Nazis.
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