Berlin to reopen reparationsissue
GERMANY SAYS it will discuss Holocaust reparations if the Israeli government officially requests it to do so — but through the Claims Conference.
At issue is the reported strain on the Israeli pension system for survivors, due to the influx of 175,000 Holocaust survivors who emigrated from the former Soviet Union.
German government spokesperson Thomas Steg made the statement last week after Israeli Pensions Minister Rafi Eitan told Ha’aretz that he wanted to discuss with Germany ways to supplement the 1952 Luxembourg Agreement regarding reparations.
“If the Israeli government wants to talk formally to the German government, we will not refuse to hold talks of this nature,” Mr Steg told reporters. He added that the massive immigration from the former Soviet Union has created a situation that was “not foreseeable in the discussions in the 1950s and 1960s. It remains to be seen whether this should lead to new negotiations.”
Noah Flug, chairman of the Centre of Organisations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, said he would be meeting Germany’s Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück in Israel this week.
The suggestion that Germany make further contributions has come in for criticism in the Israeli press. Some observers say that Israel has enough money to help the survivors. Germany has reportedly paid about $95bn (£47bn) in reparations over the decades.