Ber­lin to re­open repa­ra­tionsis­sue

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY TOBY AXELROD

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.

Thomas Steg

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