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HOLOCAUST REPARATIONS
HELP AND RESTITUTION OF NAZI PLUNDER

4.3.6.30 Holocaust Restitution Payments - All Countries
(Australian Government)

Germany
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French Rail (SCNF)
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4.3.6.30 HOLOCAUST RESTITUTION PAYMENTS - ALL COUNTRIES
Summary

This topic explains the treatment of compensation payments for victims of National Socialist persecution (restitution) including how these payments are identified and the documentation involved. This topic covers the following matters:

Australian Government  Guides to Social Policy Law, Social Security Guide, Version 1.252 -
Released 4 February 2019


TREATMENT OF GERMAN RESTITUTION PAYMENTS

Restitution payments are made by the German Government to victims of Nazi persecution for a number of reasons including loss of health, property and professional advancement.

German restitution payments ARE NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general - see (n)


TREATMENT OF GERMAN AGE, INVALID &/OR DISABILITY PENSION PAID AS A RESULT OF 'DEEMED CONTRIBUTIONS'

A recipient of a German age, invalid and/or disability pension qualifies for assistance on the basis of contributions made during their working life. As a concession to people who were unable to contribute to these schemes, because of persecution, the German government 'deems periods of contribution' to have been paid.

A German pension paid under this arrangement is EXEMPT under the income test. In these cases the whole payment is disregarded as it would be impossible to calculate and disregard that portion of the payment made for deemed periods of contribution.


PARTNER ENTITLEMENTS TO A RESTITUTION PAYMENT - GERMANY

Partner entitlements to a restitution payment are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

Explanation: In some cases the partner of a person who was receiving a restitution payment may be entitled to a once off death benefit or a widow's pension.


IDENTIFYING GERMAN RESTITUTION PAYMENTS

German restitution payments include:

A person receiving restitution payment should have documentation relating to the payment. The following words identify payment for restitution or persecution:

The German Embassy and Consulates in Australia DO NOT maintain records that would allow them to give advice on whether a pension is paid with 'deemed periods of contribution'.


COMPENSATION FOR FORCED LABOURERS & SLAVE WORKERS

Compensation payments from the Foundation 'Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future', (Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft) established on 12 August 2000, are to be made to forced labourers and slave workers. For the purposes of the compensation arrangements, forced labourers are people brought to Germany involuntarily for more than 2 months, while slave workers were imprisoned in concentration camps, ghettoes or under similar conditions for more than 2 months. Half of the compensation funds are provided by German industry and half by the German Government. The entire payment is EXEMPT from the income test as it represents a payment under a law of the Federal Republic of Germany by way of compensation for a victim of National Socialist persecution.

Where a beneficiary of the payment dies after 15 February 1999, the surviving spouse and children are entitled to the payment in equal shares. If the beneficiary is survived by neither spouse nor children, payments may be made to grandchildren or siblings. If no application is made by these persons, heirs named, by will, may apply for payment. These payments are EXEMPT from the income test.

Compensation payments made to forced labourers or slave workers funded from the Foundation will be processed and paid by partner organisations.


PAYMENTS TO WORKERS EMPLOYED IN A GHETTO

Relates to law dated 20 June 2002 regarding the conditions for making pensions payable from an employment in a ghetto (ZRGB) (Gesetz zur Zahlbarmachung von Renten aus Beschäftigungen in einem Ghetto (ZRBG) vom 20 Juni 2002). The Federal Social Court decided on 18 June 1997 that periods of work for remuneration in the former Ghetto of Lodz (with effect from 1 January 1942) must be taken into account as periods of contribution for a German pension.

A person must satisfy various conditions before taking into account periods of work in a ghetto through the ZRGB:

These payments are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.


GHETTO LABOUR COMPENSATION FUND

The German Government announced on 19 September 2007 the establishment of a new fund to pay symbolic compensation for 'voluntary' work in Holocaust-era ghettos.

The fund will issue one-time payments of 2,000 Euro to Holocaust survivors who performed voluntary work in ghettos subject to criteria of the German Government.

These payments are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.


PAYMENTS TO DISPLACED JEWISH PERSON

Since 1 July 1990, German Foreign Pensions Law (Fremdrentengesetz (FPL)), has authorised periodic compensation payments to people forced to flee their homelands once they fell under National Socialist influence, as they were Jewish and German speaking, but did not identify as German. At present payments cannot be made to Australian residents. Payments are made to residents of Israel, Canada and the United States of America as these nations have supplementary agreements with Germany.

These payments are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general - see (n)


TREATMENT OF AUSTRIAN RESTITUTION PAYMENTS

Austrian restitution payments are NOT treated as income for social security purposes.

Explanation: Restitution payments are made by the Austrian Government to victims of Nazi persecution.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general - see (n)


IDENTIFYING AUSTRIAN RESTITUTION PAYMENTS

A restitution payment received because of persecution can be identified by the words:

The Austrian Embassy and Consulates in Australia do not retain records that would allow them to give advice on whether a person's payment is paid because of persecution.


RESTITUTION TO THOSE WHO SUFFERED LOSS OR DAMAGE

Existing payments of restitution by the Austrian Government are made from the Reconciliation Fund through which compensation payments are directed primarily to forced or slave labourers, or to their children, compulsorily transferred to Austrian territory during the Second World War.

To extend restitution to those who suffered loss or damage as a result of, or connection with, events that occurred in Austria during the National Socialist (Nazi) era or during World War Two, the Austrian Government established a General Settlement Fund. This fund provides compensation payments to people who emigrated from Austria between 4 March 1933 and 9 May 1945 in response to political, religious or other persecution, who remained abroad as a result of that emigration and who can demonstrate damage or loss arising out of the emigration.

The additional restitution payments started from 1 March 2002 and applications for the payments closed on 27 May 2003.


PRISONER OF WAR COMPENSATION ACT (KGEG) PAYMENTS

There are 3 types of recipients for Prisoner of War Compensation Act (Kriegsgefangenenent schadigungsgesetz (KGEG)). Austrian nationals who:


COMPENSATION PAYMENTS TO VICTIMS OF NATIONAL SOCIALIST (NAZI) PERSECUTION FROM COUNTRIES OTHER THAN GERMANY OR AUSTRIA

Since 13 May 2003 (Budget 2003-2004) restitution payments to victims of National Socialist (Nazi) persecution are not treated as income regardless of the source of the payments.

The following are examples of payments that are exempt from the social security income test. This list is not exhaustive.

Dutch - Maror Fund

Dutch - Maror Fund payment to Jewish survivors of World War II who resided in the Netherlands during World War II or to their widow or widower or their child/ren if the survivor died after V-E Day of World War II.

French Decree 2000-657

French Decree 2000-657 of 13 July 2000 payment to the orphans of persons who died during the deportation as part of the anti-semitic persecutions during the German occupation of France during World War II (orphans must be under the age of 21 years at the time of deportation).

Payment from a Swiss Fund for Holocaust Survivors

One-off payments from a fund established by Swiss banks to needy holocaust survivors who have lived under the Nazi regime, Nazi occupation, or Nazi collaborative regime. World Jewish Restitution Organisation, through the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, disburse one-off payments from a humanitarian fund established by Swiss banks.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8) Excluded amounts-general - see (n)

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.2.31 Income Exempt from Assessment - Specifically Approved, 4.3.6.40 Restitution Payments - Netherlands


EXAMPLES OF HOLOCAUST REPARATION PAYMENTS


GERMANY TO PROVIDE FUNDS TO NAZIS’ CHILD VICTIMS AND HOME CARE HELP
Jewish children who were in concentration camps, ghettos or spent at least six months in hiding to receive $3,280,
The Times of Israel, David Rising, 4 September 2014


This picture from January, 1945 shows a group of children wearing concentration camp uniforms (Auschwitz) Nazi concentration camp, just after their liberation by the Soviet army. (photo credit: AP Photo)




BERLIN (AP) — Child survivors of the Holocaust will receive additional financial assistance from the German government to help with increasing problems stemming from malnutrition and psychological trauma inflicted by the Nazis, under a new agreement worth an estimated $250 million.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said the agreement reached with the Finance Ministry late Wednesday would provide one-time payments of 2,500 euros ($3,280) for Jewish children who were in concentration camps, ghettos or spent at least six months in hiding.

The Finance Ministry on Thursday confirmed the agreement but refused to provide further details.

The payment comes in addition to other compensation they may have received, and represents the first time the German government has recognized the unique problems facing child survivors, said Claims Conference executive vice president Greg Schneider, who was involved in the negotiations.

“All of this is being driven by the fact that we’re in the final years,” Schneider said in a telephone interview from New York. “If there’s going to be any final message that the German government or the German people are going to give to survivors, these are literally the last years to do it.”

Schneider estimated that some 75,000 survivors around the world could qualify for the payments, designed to help them with physical and psychological problems stemming from childhood malnutrition and emotional trauma.

Because so many survivors lost most, if not all, relatives in the Holocaust, many lack family support in their old age and have no inherited wealth to help them, Schneider noted.

The agreement, which still has to be approved by the German Parliament but isn’t expected to meet any political resistance, will provide the one-time payment to Nazi victims born January 1, 1928 or later. That would have made them at oldest 11 at the start of the war, and 17 by its end.

The fund is expected to become operational January 1.

Also starting in January, Germany is providing the Claims Conference with 205 million euros to begin paying for home care help for Holocaust victims, according to a previous agreement. An additional 210 million euros will be paid in 2016, and 215 million euros in 2017.

In total, Germany has paid around 70 billion euros ($95 billion) in compensation for Nazi crimes, primarily to Jewish survivors.

Compensation has evolved continuously since Germany agreed in 1952 to make payments, with annual negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government on who should receive funds and how much will be paid.

“There’s no amount of money that can ever compensate for what happened to a person during the Holocaust, but even a symbolic acknowledgement is extraordinarily important,” Schneider said.


FRENCH RAIL TO COMPENSATE THOUSANDS OF HOLOCAUST DEPORTEES
Rail firm SNCF, which transported 76,000 French Jews to Nazi concentration camps, to pay $60 million in reparations
Times of Israel, AP and AFP, 5 December 2014


This Monday Aug. 20, 2001, file photo shows French Holocaust survivors gathering at the site of the former Drancy detention camp, north of Paris, France. From Aug. 20, 1941 until the end of World War II, more than 70,000 Jewish men, women and children passed through Drancy on their way to Nazi extermination camps, particularly Auschwitz. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

This Monday Aug. 20, 2001, file photo shows French Holocaust survivors gathering at the site of the former Drancy detention camp, north of Paris, France. From Aug. 20, 1941 until the end of World War II, more than 70,000 Jewish men, women and children passed through Drancy on their way to Nazi extermination camps, particularly Auschwitz. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS — Thousands of Holocaust survivors and family members in the United States and elsewhere will be entitled to compensation from a $60 million French-U.S. fund announced Friday — reparations to those deported by France’s state rail company SNCF during the Nazi occupation.

As part of the deal, the U.S. government will work to end lawsuits and other compensation claims in U.S. courts against SNCF, which is bidding for lucrative high-speed rail and other contracts in U.S. markets. State legislators in Maryland, New York, Florida and California have tried to punish SNCF for its Holocaust-era actions.

“This is another measure of justice for the harms of one of history’s darkest eras,” said the U.S. Special Adviser on Holocaust Issues, Stuart Eizenstat, who spent three years working with French officials on the agreement.

SNCF transported about 76,000 French Jews to Nazi concentration camps, though experts disagree on its degree of guilt. SNCF has expressed regret for what happened, but argues it had no effective control over operations during the Nazi occupation from 1940 to 1944.

The compensation fund will be financed by the French government and managed by the United States. The accord will be signed Monday in Washington, but it still must get approval from the French Parliament, which could take months.

France’s government has already paid more than $6 billion in reparations, but only to French citizens and certain deportees. The new accord is to help compensate Americans, Israelis and some others who were not eligible for other French reparations programs.

Patrizianna Sparacino-Thiellay, a French ambassador for human rights who worked closely with Eizenstat on the accord, said “hundreds” of people in the U.S. are eligible under the new fund as direct survivors or spouses, and several thousand could be eligible as heirs.

The money should break down to about $100,000 each for survivors and tens of thousands of dollars for spouses, said Eizenstat.

Only in 1995 did France acknowledge a direct role in the Holocaust, when then-President Jacques Chirac said the state bore responsibility. Subsequent compensation programs paid out compensation worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The German government has paid around 70 billion euros ($85 billion) in compensation for Nazi crimes, mainly to Jewish survivors.

France already has international accords with four countries — Poland, Belgium, Britain and the Czech Republic — over compensation for deportation victims. Friday’s deal aims to fill the remaining gaps in justice for others also affected.

Although SNCF is not a party to the agreement, the company will contribute $4 million over the next five years to fund Holocaust memorials and museums in the U.S., Israel and France, according to Eizenstat.

The French government has pledged to encourage French lawmakers to approve the deal, Eizenstat said.

Patrizianna Sparacino-Thiellay said the French government wanted to finish the deal by year-end in part for symbolic reasons: France is hosting several events marking 70 years since the Allies liberated France from the Nazis in 1944.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, who had pushed the U.S. government to pressure France to agree to compensation, hailed the deal as a “breakthrough in a decades-long struggle for justice.”

Charles Srebnik, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor from Belgium, said his family began its efforts for redress many years ago over the deportation of his uncle, Herschel Sluszny — a Paris electrical engineer who later died at Auschwitz.

“The sad part of it is that in 1995, President Jacques Chirac admitted the complicity and the guilt involved in this,” Srebnik said by phone from New York, “and all these years, the French national railroad denied it.”

He said the money would be useful for survivors: “At this point, a lot of survivors can’t meet their daily needs — they’re so badly off.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights organization, said: “There is no amount of money that could ever make up for the horrific injustice done to these victims and their families.”

“But agreements like this provide some modest redress, an important recognition of their pain, and acknowledge the responsibility of governments and institutions to leave no stone unturned in seeking every possible measure of justice for Holocaust victims,” said Foxman, himself a Holocaust survivor.

The deal comes as France, home to western Europe’s largest Jewish community, is facing new concerns about anti-Semitism. France’s leading Jewish organization, CRIF, estimates that the number of anti-Semitic incidents has grown 91 percent this year compared to a year ago.

Word of the accord comes as France, home to western Europe’s largest Jewish community, is battling new concerns about anti-Semitism. French authorities and Jewish leaders denounced a rape and robbery attack with anti-Semitic overtones this week against a French couple.

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in France has grown 91 percent this year compared to last year, according to CRIF, France’s leading Jewish organization. Incidents such as graffiti on Jewish gravestones and violent assaults spiked around the Gaza war this summer, and Jewish groups are concerned about rising Islamic extremism and the resurgent far right.


HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS RECEIVE REPARATIONS FROM FRANCE FOR DEPORTATIONS TO CONCENTRATION CAMPS
'Is there any amount of money that could compensate you for even one day in Auschwitz, a factory of death and murder?'
The Independent, Katherine Shaver, Thursday 7 February 2019


More than seven decades after the Second World War ended, 49 Holocaust survivors are receiving $402,000 (£310,000) each from the French government in reparations for the country's trains that deported them to Nazi concentration camps.

Thirty-two surviving spouses of deportees who died following the war will receive up to $100,500 each, officials said.

The payments fall under a 2014 US-France agreement in which the French government offered $60m in reparations for Holocaust deportations.

In exchange, the US government asked courts to dismiss any lawsuits against the French railway, known as SNCF and the French government.

The agreement came after US Holocaust survivors who had been transported to Nazi camps on French trains – usually without no food and a bucket for a toilet – objected when a company affiliated with the French railway began bidding on lucrative US rail contracts. The State Department decided which claims merited payment under the agreement.

“This is a really important moment, a very satisfying moment and the end of a painstaking process to help those who were long denied justice,” said former ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, the State Department's expert adviser on Holocaust-era issues.

Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, said reparations are “important for the historical record” and to hold governments and companies accountable for their roles in the Holocaust.

“Holocaust compensation is never about the money,” said Mr Schneider, whose nonprofit group negotiates for reparations," he said. “It's about acknowledgment. It's about recognition. It's about justice... Is there any amount of money that could compensate you for even one day in Auschwitz, a factory of death and murder?”

The French Holocaust reparations agreement was unique, Mr Eizenstat said, because it included compensation for the heirs, including children and grandchildren, of both deportees and their spouses.

The heirs were viewed as “standing in the shoes” of those who had died before the agreement was signed, he said. The heirs will receive a portion of a deportee's and spouse's payments, depending on when they died.

The State Department approved 386 of the 867 claims filed, officials said. The agreement covered US citizens, as well as deportees who settled in other countries after the war. It did not cover citizens of France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Poland and the former Czechoslovakia because those countries have their own reparations programs, Mr Eizenstat said.

Most who are receiving payments are Americans or Israelis, officials said, but they include survivors, spouses and heirs from Canada, Mexico, Peru and other countries.

They also include eight to 10 US and Canadian airmen who were deported after being shot down over France, officials said.

The total payments will end up being almost double what many recipients initially received during the first round in the summer of 2016, when about $30m was paid out.

State Department officials said they had made “conservative” payments as quickly as possible because so many of the survivors and their spouses were elderly. The department is now making a second round of payments to those recipients, as well as to applicants who filed successful claims later.

Letters to the recipients announcing the second round of payments were mailed this week, said Jennifer Newstead, the State Department's legal adviser.

“While no program can provide complete justice for all those who were impacted by deportation from France,” Ms Newstead said, “we hope those affected by one of history's darkest eras will receive some additional relief from these further payments.”

Germany's far-right AfD banned from attending Holocaust memorials

The State Department rejected 481 claims because they didn't fall under the agreement, Mr Eizenstat said. Those included claims filed by French citizens who lived in the United States, Holocaust survivors who had been transported within France but never were deported, and distant relatives who weren't considered heirs.

Lisa Grosh, assistant legal adviser on the agreement, said few were rejected for a lack of documentation. She said State Department officials worked with survivors and families to dig up decades-old marriage licenses, death certificates and deportation records.

“We worked very creatively with the claimants… to give them ideas about how they could go about giving us the certainty we needed to approve the claim,” Ms Grosh said.

The Washington Post


DUTCH RAIL SAYS IT WILL COMPENSATE FOR TRANSPORTING JEWS TO NAZI DEATH CAMPS
Holland’s National Rail will pay restitution to relatives of those deported during World War I
Times of Israel, AFP, 28 November 2018


THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch national railways company will for the first time pay individual compensation to relatives of Jews deported to German death camps during World War II, the country’s rail provider announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes after talks between National Rail (NS) top director Roger van Boxtel and former Ajax football club physiotherapist Salo Muller, who lost both his parents during the war.

Muller has been fighting since mid-2017 for individual compensation from the NS, who transported his parents by train from Amsterdam to the notorious Westerbork transit camp in northeast Netherlands. From there they were sent to their deaths at the Auschwitz extermination camp in Poland.

“We have decided together to… appoint a commission,” the NS said in a statement.

“This commission is tasked to look at how the NS, for moral reasons can pay individual compensation,” it said.

As with many other Dutch companies, the NS continued in the service of Nazi occupiers after Germany overran the lowlands country in May 1940.

The company earned millions of euros in today’s terms to transport Jewish families to Westerbork, the NOS national newscaster reported.

This included teenage diarist Anne Frank in August 8, 1944, after she and other members of her group were betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo.

Illustrative: A symbolic deportation train at the former Nazi transit camp Westerbork, in the Netherlands, January 2018 (Matt Lebovic/The Times of Israel)

At Westerbork, in the northeast Drente province some 107,000 of the Netherlands’ 140,000-strong Jewish population were eventually interred before being sent to death camps like Auschwitz, Sobibor and Bergen-Belsen in the east.

“The NS adhered to a German command to make trains available. The Germans paid for this and the NS had to make sure that the trains ran on time,” Dirk Mulder of the Centre for Memory at Westerbork told the NOS.

The NS in 2005 officially apologized for its role in the Second World War, but no individual compensation has been paid until now.

The NS has been actively involved in projects, including a one-million-euro donation to help rebuild Westerbork, the NOS said.

“The NS during World War II operated trains commanded by the occupier,” the rail operator said.

“It was a black page in our country’s history and also for our own company. It’s a past which we cannot ignore,” the NS said.