HEART­BREAK­ING TES­TI­MONY RE­SULTED IN £2,660 PAY­OUT

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

cern un­suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants, as heart­felt tes­ti­mony came up against the cold ef­fi­ciency of British bu­reau­cracy.

Mali Biber­stein re­ceived noth­ing from the scheme. She sub­mit­ted an ap­pli­ca­tion in July 1965 on be­half of her only son Otto, who was killed in Auschwitz, aged 21.

He was deemed in­el­i­gi­ble be­cause he did not hold British cit­i­zen­ship at the time of his death. More than 900 failed ap­pli­ca­tions, around a third of the to­tal, were re­jected on the ba­sis of na­tion­al­ity.

Fay Si­mon, for­merly Turgel, a Rus­sianLithua­nian Jew, de­scribed how she and her hus­band were ar­rested in Minsk and sent to a forced labour camp where her only child was killed.

She was then trans­ported to Ber­genBelsen where her hus­band also died. Her wartime ex­pe­ri­ences had a last­ing im­pact on her health and she would of­ten wake up scream­ing in the night, some­thing she blamed for the break-up of her sec­ond mar­riage.

How­ever, her ap­pli­ca­tion was re­jected on the ba­sis that she had been el­i­gi­ble for an ear­lier com­pen­sa­tion scheme. The fact she had missed the dead­line for that scheme did not al­ter the out­come.

More than half the re­jected ap­pli­ca­tions were de­nied com­pen­sa­tion be­cause their mis­treat­ment had oc­curred as Pris­on­ers-of-War, in­ternees, or in other civil­ian pris­ons, as only Nazi vic­tims of “con­cen­tra­tion camps or com­pa­ra­ble pris­ons” were el­i­gi­ble un­der the scheme.

The files can be searched by name at www. na­tion­alarchives.gov.uk and viewed on site at the Na­tional Ar­chives in Kew

EVA Esther Wise­man from Rot­ter­dam in Hol­land made a suc­cess­ful ap­pli­ca­tion on be­half of her British-born hus­band, Abra­ham, and her in­fant son Ino Izak Fer­di­nand Wise­man, who died in the Wester­bork transit camp aged just 14 months old.

Mrs Wise­man, who took British na­tion­al­ity af­ter her mar­riage, sub­mit­ted a 14-page let­ter in sup­port of her ap­pli­ca­tion, one of the most de­tailed tes­ti­monies in the col­lec­tion. In it she de­scribes her trans­porta­tion to Wester­bork. There, her in­fant son, suf­fer­ing with an ear in­fec­tion and dysen­tery and un­able to see a doc­tor in time, died in her arms. She de­scribes be­ing taken to a prison camp where she was the only qual­i­fied nurse car­ing for more than 600 people.

She wrote: “In this camp it was aw­ful. People were beaten, badly han­dled and punched. The Ger­mans never left people alone, they were mostly drunk and they were al­ways do­ing im­moral things.”

Her hus­band was taken to var­i­ous camps in Ger­many and Hol­land be­fore they were even­tu­ally reunited at an in­tern­ment camp for British cit­i­zens in Vit­tel, France. From there, the cou­ple were able to make their way to England in Novem­ber 1943, where Abra­ham un­der­went emer­gency surgery. Af­ter the war he con­tin­ued to suf­fer “se­ri­ous men­tal shock” and would of­ten re­live his wartime ex­pe­ri­ence in the camps, par­tic­u­larly at night. He died in 1955.

Mrs Wise­man re­ceived £367 each for her and her hus­band’s time in Wester­bork and £2,293 for the death of her son.

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