December 21, 2009
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz will demand between 450 million to 1 billion euros in reparations from Germany on behalf of Jews forced into slave labor during the Holocaust, it emerged on Sunday.Minister Steinitz will reportedly present German government with the demand on behalf of 30,000 Israeli survivors of forced labor in wartime ghettos, during a joint session scheduled to take place in early 2010 in Berlin. Israeli officials estimate that according to a ghetto workers act passed by the German parliament in 2002, all of the 30,000 living forced labor survivors are entitled to a retroactive payment of approximately 15,000 euros each. However, Finance Ministry officials say that according to the German government’s calculations, the one-time payment is larger than that estimated by Israel, and reaches a total of 1 billion euros. In addition to the one-time payment, the survivors are also entitled to a monthly allowance, which adds up to around 100 million euros a year. In September, Germany’s top court dismissed a claim yesterday for the return of land seized by the Nazis from its Jewish owner in 1933. Jewish businessman Adolf Sommerfeld, who owned nearly 80 percent of a company building a housing estate in the Berlin suburb of Kleinmachnow, was beaten up and shot at by Nazi thugs and fled Germany in 1933, the year the Nazis came to power. The Nazis later sold the homes to their occupants, who are now the owners. Seizures of property from Jews continued through the 1930s, culminating in the Holocaust.