The Reparations Agreement between Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Luxemburger Abkommen "Luxembourg Agreement" or Wiedergutmachungsabkommen "Wiedergutmachung Agreement", Hebrew: הסכם השילומים Heskem HaShillumim "Reparations Agreement") was signed on September 10, 1952, and entered in force on March 27, 1953. According to the Agreement, West Germany was to pay Israel for the costs of "resettling so great a number of uprooted and destitute Jewish refugees" after the war, and to compensate individual Jews, via the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, for losses in Jewish livelihood and property resulting from Nazi persecution.
In 1952, first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion argued that the reparation demand was based on recovering as much Jewish property as possible "so that the murderers do not become the heirs as well". His other argument was that the reparations were needed to finance the absorption and rehabilitation of the Holocaust survivors in Israel.
According to the website of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, "In response to calls from Jewish organizations and the State of Israel, in September 1951 Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany addressed his Parliament: "… unspeakable crimes have been committed in the name of the German people, calling for moral and material indemnity … The Federal Government are prepared, jointly with representatives of Jewry and the State of Israel … to bring about a solution of the material indemnity problem, thus easing the way to the spiritual settlement of infinite suffering."
One month after Adenauer's speech, Nahum Goldmann, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and president of the World Jewish Congress, convened a meeting in New York City of 23 major Jewish national and international organizations. The participants made clear that these talks were to be limited to discussion of material claims, and thus the organization that emerged from the meeting was called the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany—the Claims Conference. The Board of Directors of the new conference consisted of groups that took part in its formation, with each member agency designating two members to the board.
"The Claims Conference had the task of negotiating with the German government a program of indemnification for the material damages to Jewish individuals and to the Jewish people caused by Germany through the Holocaust."
Following the Holocaust Israel's relations with Germany, already extremely delicate, were further complicated by the onset of the Cold War and the division of Germany into mutually hostile eastern and western states. Due to a variety of factors, it quickly became apparent that West Germany would be the state most able and willing to deal with Israeli claims related to the Holocaust. To complicate matters further, Israel also had to be sensitive to the strategic interests of the United States which following the breakdown in the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union had come to believe the establishment of a prosperous West German economy to essential so as to forge a reliable and productive alliance with the postwar democratic government seated in Bonn.
Israel was intent on taking in what remained of European Jewry. Israel was also recovering from the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and was facing a deep economic crisis which led to a policy of austerity. Unemployment was very high (especially in the ma'abarot camps) and foreign currency reserves were scarce. David Ben-Gurion and his Mapai party took a practical approach and argued that accepting the agreement was the only way to sustain the nation's economy. "There are two approaches", he told the Mapai central committee. "One is the ghetto Jew's approach and the other is of an independent people. 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 1951, 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 500,000 Holocaust survivors. They calculated that since absorption had cost 3,000 dollars per person ($28,958 in today dollars), they were owed 1.5 billion dollars ($14,500,000,000 in today's dollars) by Germany. 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 1952, 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. Goldmann. 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 agreement was signed by Adenauer and Moshe Sharett on September 10, 1952, at Luxembourg City Hall. The German Parliament (Bundestag) passed the agreement March 18, 1953, by a large majority, 239 for and 35 against, though only 106 of the ruling CDU/CSU's 214 MPs supported the motion, which relied on the unanimous support of the opposition Social Democrats to get through. 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. 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 1951, 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 1952, 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 1952, all adjacent roads were blocked. Roadblocks and wire fences were set up around the building and the IDF was prepared to suppress an insurrection. The rally, gathered by the agreement's opponents drew 15,000 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 1948, 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]!' Today I will give the order, 'Do!'" The demonstration turned violent as protesters began throwing stones at the building's windows while the police used force to disperse them. After five hours of rioting, the police took control of the situation using hoses and tear gas. Hundreds were arrested; about 200 protesters and 140 policemen were injured.
The decision did not end the protests. In October 1952 Dov Shilansky was arrested near the Foreign Ministry building, carrying a pack of dynamite. 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. Several parcel bombs were sent to Adenauer and others targets, one of which killed a policeman who handled it.
Despite the protests, the agreement was signed in September 1952, and West Germany paid Israel a sum of 3 billion marks over the next fourteen years; 450 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 1,300 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 1953 to 1963, 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. About 30% of the reparations money went into buying fuel, while 17% was used to purchase ships for the Israeli merchant fleet; some fifty ships including two passenger liners were purchased, and by 1961, these vessels constituted two-thirds of the Israeli merchant marine. 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. The Bank of Israel credited the reparations for about 15% of Israel's GNP growth and the creation of 45,000 jobs during the period they were in effect.
Yad Vashem noted that "in the 1990s, 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. Among them are Deutsche Bank AG, Siemens AG, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), Volkswagen AG, and Adam Opel AG. In response, early in 1999, 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 1990s, discussions of compensation were held by insurance companies that had before the war insured Jews who were later murdered by the Nazis. These companies include Allianz, AXA, Assicurazioni Generali, Zürich Financial Services Group, Winterthur, and Baloise Insurance Group. With the help of information about Holocaust victims made available by Yad Vashem, an international commission under former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger has been trying to uncover the names of those who had been insured and were murdered in the Holocaust. The World Jewish Restitution Organization was created to organize these efforts. On behalf of US citizens, the US Foreign Claims Settlement Commission reached agreements with the German government in 1998 and 1999 to compensate Holocaust victims who immigrated to the US after the war."
In 2007, Israeli MK Rafi Eitan made suggestions that were interpreted as a claim to reopen the agreement, although he insisted that he merely intended to "establish a German-Israeli work team that would examine how Germany could help the financially struggling survivors". Initially, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück rejected any possibility of expanding the agreement, but subsequently German government spokesman Thomas Steg said that Germany was willing to discuss the possibility of making extra pension payments to Holocaust survivors if the Israeli government makes an official request.
In 2009, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced that he will demand a further €450 million to €1 billion in reparations from Germany on behalf of some 30,000 Israeli forced labor survivors.
|url=(help). United Nations Treaty Series (in English and French). 162. pp. 205–311.
|url=(help). United Nations Treaty Series (in English and French). 345. pp. 91–97.
based on recovering as much Jewish property as possible... "so that the murderers do not become the heirs as well"... to finance the absorption and rehabilitation of the Holocaust survivors in Israel.
Events in the year 1952 in Israel.Anda (play)
Anda is an Israeli play written and directed by Hillel Mittelpunkt on 24 September 2008, on the stage of the Beit Lessin Theater.Arbeitsdorf
Arbeitsdorf ("work-village") was a concentration camp established by the Nazis in Wolfsburg 1942.Bilateral Compensation Agreements for Victims of the Nazi Regime
The Bilateral Compensation Agreements for Victims of the Nazi Regime (German: Globalabkommen) between the Federal Republic of Germany, colloquially referred to as West Germany, which the West German government concluded between 1959 and 1964 with twelve Western European countries, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, to compensate victims of Nazi prosecution. In the bilateral agreements Germany settled on paying DM 876 million in what Germany considered voluntary compensation, without any legal obligation.No agreements were concluded with any of the Eastern European countries which had suffered from Nazi occupation because of the political situation during the Cold War. East Germany did not participate in any of these bilateral agreements as it did not consider itself a successor state of the German Reich but it did, in the 1980s, conduct settlement agreements with Austria, Finland and Sweden.Budapest Ghetto
The Budapest Ghetto was a Nazi ghetto set up in Budapest, Hungary, where Jews were forced to relocate by a decree of the Hungarian Government during the final stages of World War II. The ghetto existed only from November 29, 1944 - January
17, 1945.Central Committee of the Liberated Jews
The Central Committee of the Liberated Jews (ZK) was an organization which represented Jewish displaced persons in the American Zone of the post-World War II Germany, during 1945-1950.Originated on July 1, 1945 through the efforts of Dr. Zalman Grinberg, former director of the Kovno ghetto hospital, rabbi Abraham Klausner, a chaplain of the US Army, and others, on September 7, 1946 the Committee was recognized as "the legal and democratic representation of the liberated Jews in the American zone" by the American military government in Germany.The first Chairman was Zalman Gringberg, succeeded by David Treger (in 1946) after Grinberg's emigration to Palestine and then by Abraham Treger. Abraham Treger served as the Committee's chairman between 1946 to 1948 and then emigrated with his wife Ida to Haifa, Israel.David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion (Hebrew: דָּוִד בֶּן-גּוּרִיּוֹן; pronounced [daˈvɪd ben gurˈjo:n] (listen), born David Grün; 16 October 1886 – 1 December 1973) was the primary national founder of the State of Israel and the first Prime Minister of Israel.
Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946. As head of the Jewish Agency from 1935, and later president of the Jewish Agency Executive, he was the de facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, and largely led its struggle for an independent Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine. On 14 May 1948, he formally proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, and was the first to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which he had helped to write. Ben-Gurion led Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and united the various Jewish militias into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Subsequently, he became known as "Israel's founding father".Following the war, Ben-Gurion served as Israel's first Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. As Prime Minister, he helped build the state institutions, presiding over various national projects aimed at the development of the country. He also oversaw the absorption of vast numbers of Jews from all over the world. A centerpiece of his foreign policy was improving relationships with the West Germans. He worked very well with Konrad Adenauer's government in Bonn, and West Germany provided large sums (in the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany) in compensation for Nazi Germany's confiscation of Jewish property during the Holocaust.In 1954 he resigned as both Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, although he remained a member of the Knesset. However, he returned as Minister of Defense in 1955 after the Lavon Affair resulted in the resignation of Pinhas Lavon. Later in the year he became Prime Minister again, following the 1955 elections. Under his leadership, Israel responded aggressively to Arab guerrilla attacks, and in 1956, invaded Egypt along with British and French forces after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal during what became known as the Suez Crisis.
He stepped down from office in 1963, and retired from political life in 1970. He then moved to Sde Boker, a kibbutz in the Negev desert, where he lived until his death. Posthumously, Ben-Gurion was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th century.Giora Yoseftal
Dr Giora Yoseftal (Hebrew: גיורא יוספטל; 9 August 1912 – 23 August 1962) was an Israeli politician who held several ministerial portfolios in the late 1950s and early 1960s.International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims
The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) was established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in August 1998 to identify, settle, and pay individual Holocaust era insurance claims at no cost to claimants.
ICHEIC was established in 1998 following negotiations between representatives of international Jewish and survivor organizations, the State of Israel, European insurance companies and U.S. insurance regulators. The result of the negotiations, a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU"), was signed on August 25, 1998, by several European insurance companies.
This organization headed off the need for legislation in several U.S. states that would provide compensation for such victims. However, New York, California and Florida each passed legislation entitling survivors to compensation prior to its organization. In New York, Senator Guy Velella, sponsored such legislation and hearings with insurance archeology specialists were held to prove victims were denied such claims.
The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims ceased accepting claim forms/applications from Holocaust survivors on March 31, 2004. According to the ICHEIC website, all timely filed claims received a final decision through the ICHEIC process by December 2006.Intertemporal law
Intertemporal Law is a concept in the field of legal theory.
It deals with the complications caused by alleged abuse or violation of collective or individual rights in the historical past, in a territory where the legal system has undergone significant changes since then, and a redress along the lines of the current legal regime is virtually impossible.
The origins of Intertemporal Law as a legal theoretical concept, especially in relation to the use of force, are to be found in CJ Huber's discussion in the Palmas Arbitration case. (Islands of Palmas Arbitration, Netherlands v US, 1928) where he stated "a juridical fact must be appreciated in the light of the law contemporary with it."Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations
The Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations was a statement issued on December 17, 1942, by the American and British governments on behalf of the Allied Powers. In it, they describe the ongoing events of the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe.
The statement was read to British House of Commons in a floor speech by Foreign secretary Anthony Eden, and published on the front page of the New York Times and many other newspapers. It was made in response to a 16-page note addressed to the Allied governments on December 10 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Polish government-in-exile, Count Edward Raczynski, titled The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland and his official Raczyński's Note addressed to western governments.Koldichevo
Koldichevo (Koldychevo/Kołdyczewo) was the site of a Nazi concentration camp 16 kilometres (10 mi) north of Baranovichi, Belarus. About 22,000 people, mostly Jews, were killed in the camp between 1942 and 1944.List of Nazi ghettos
This article is a partial list of selected Jewish ghettos created by the Nazis for the purpose of isolating, exploiting and finally, eradicating Jewish population (and sometimes Gypsies) on territories they controlled. Most of the prominent ghettos listed here were set up by the Third Reich and its allies in the course of World War II. In total, according to USHMM archives, "The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos in German-occupied and annexed Poland and the Soviet Union alone." Therefore, the examples are intended only to illustrate their scope across Eastern and Western Europe.Mass murders in Tykocin
The Mass murders in Tykocin occurred in August 25, 1941, during World War II, where the local Jewish population of Tykocin (Poland) was killed by German Einsatzkommando.Reparation
Reparation may refer to:
Reparation (legal), the legal philosophy
Reparations (transitional justice), measures taken by the state to redress gross and systematic violations of human rights law or humanitarian law
Reparations for slavery, proposed compensation for the Atlantic slave trade, to assist the descendants of enslaved peoples and the communities affected
Reparations for slavery debate in the United States
Reparations (website), website devoted to cause of compensation for the descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
Reparation (album), a reggae album by musician Eddy Grant
"Reparation", a song on that album
Acts of reparation, prayers for repairing the damages of sin
World War I reparations, made from Germany due to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles
Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany, Holocaust reparationsSzczuczyn pogrom
Szczuczyn pogrom was the massacre of some 300 Jews in the community of Szczuczyn carried out by its Polish inhabitants in June 1941 after the town was bypassed by the invading German soldiers in the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. The June massacre was stopped by German soldiers.
A subsequent massacre by Poles in July killed some 100 Jews, and following the German Gestapo takeover in August 1941 some 600 Jews were killed by the Germans, the remaining Jews placed in a ghetto, and subsequently sent to Treblinka extermination camp.Uckermark concentration camp
The Uckermark concentration camp was a small German concentration camp for girls near the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Fürstenberg/Havel, Germany and then an "emergency" extermination camp.Wąsosz pogrom
The Wąsosz pogrom was the World War II mass murder of Jewish residents of Wąsosz in German-occupied Poland, on 5 July 1941.