Germany to compensate Algerian Holocaust survivors

Germany to compensate Algerian Jewish Holocaust survivors

Jews who lived in Algeria during the Vichy regime will receive compensation, said the Claims Conference. Algerian Jews were "one of the last" groups to be recognized by Germany, the organization's vice president told DW.

The Claims Conference Hardship Fund on Monday announced that a new group of Jewish Holocaust survivors will be eligible for compensation from the Germany government.

The group consists of Jews who lived in Algeria between July 1940 and November 1942. Those eligible for compensation will receive a one-time payment of €2,556 ($3,180), which the German government will begin paying out in July.

"Even at this late stage, it's very important both for the individuals, because it acknowledges what they went through, and in general, because it creates a historical record which will stand the test of time," Eric Schneider, who serves as executive vice president of the Claims Conference, told DW.

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"The further we get away from the events, I think there's the greater possibility of Holocaust revisionism … When the German government takes responsibility and acknowledges the event, then it makes it a lot harder to refute it."

The Claims Conference, which represents Holocaust victims in negotiations for compensation from the German government, estimates that approximately 25,000 Algerian Jews living across the globe may be eligible for compensation.

Algerien Algier im 2. Weltkrieg

In 1942, American and British forces invaded Algeria while 400 mostly Jewish French resistance fighters staged a coup in the capital Algiers

The Jews of Algeria

During World War II, Jews in Algeria — then a French colony — were targeted by the Vichy regime's racial laws. Vichy authorities confiscated Jewish property and stripped Jews of French citizenship in Algeria.

"All these anti-Jewish measures were devised both in accordance with the anti-Semitic Vichy philosophy, and in order to gain the favor of the North African Muslim population," according to the Shoah resource center at the Yad Vashem memorial center.

Read more: Reconstructed Auschwitz prisoner text details 'unimaginable' suffering

Nazi Germany, led by dictator Adolf Hitler, was responsible for perpetrating the Holocaust, which left millions of Jews and members of other ethnic and social groups dead. The Vichy regime governed the "Free Zone" in Nazi-occupied France during World War II and implemented anti-Semitic policies that included deporting Jews to death camps.

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'Unacceptable'

While Jewish Algerian Holocaust survivors are "one of the last of the largest groups to be recognized," Schneider said challenges remain in negotiating compensation for survivors, including time constraints and the lack of a German government.

Read more: Eastern Europe fails pledges to return Jewish property, says study

"We estimate that there are 450,000 Nazi victims alive today. All our estimates show that 50 percent of them will have passed away in seven years," Schneider told DW, adding that some are struggling with poverty.

"When you have a survivor who has been through everything survivor's went through and then they have to make a choice in their final years between medicine and food, that's just unacceptable to us."

History

Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945)

As Hitler's Propaganda Minister, the virulently anti-Semitic Goebbels was responsible for making sure a single, iron-clad Nazi message reached every citizen of the Third Reich. He strangled freedom of the press, controlled all media, arts, and information, and pushed Hitler to declare "Total War." He and his wife committed suicide in 1945, after poisoning their six children.

History

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)

The leader of the German National Socialist Workers' Party (Nazi) developed his anti-Semitic, anti-communist and racist ideology well before coming to power as Chancellor in 1933. He undermined political institutions to transform Germany into a totalitarian state. From 1939 to 1945, he led Germany in World War II while overseeing the Holocaust. He committed suicide in April 1945.

History

Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945)

As leader of the Nazi paramilitary SS ("Schutzstaffel"), Himmler was one of the Nazi party members most directly responsible for the Holocaust. He also served as Chief of Police and Minister of the Interior, thereby controlling all of the Third Reich's security forces. He oversaw the construction and operations of all extermination camps, in which more than 6 million Jews were murdered.

History

Rudolf Hess (1894-1987)

Hess joined the Nazi party in 1920 and took part in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, a failed Nazi attempt to gain power. While in prison, he helped Hitler write "Mein Kampf." Hess flew to Scotland in 1941 to attempt a peace negotiation, where he was arrested and held until the war's end. In 1946, he stood trial in Nuremberg and was sentenced to life in prison, where he died.

History

Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962)

Alongside Himmler, Eichmann was one of the chief organizers of the Holocaust. As an SS Lieutenant colonel, he managed the mass deportations of Jews to Nazi extermination camps in Eastern Europe. After Germany's defeat, Eichmann fled to Austria and then to Argentina, where he was captured by the Israeli Mossad in 1960. Tried and found guilty of crimes against humanity, he was executed in 1962.

History

Hermann Göring (1893-1946)

A participant in the failed Beer Hall Putsch, Göring became the second-most powerful man in Germany once the Nazis took power. He founded the Gestapo, the Secret State Police, and served as Luftwaffe commander until just before the war's end, though he increasingly lost favor with Hitler. Göring was sentenced to death at Nuremberg but committed suicide the night before it was enacted.