The Luxembourg reparations agreement between West Germany and Israel was signed on this date in 1952, following lengthy negotiations between Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and very fierce debate in the young state of Israel. Under the Agreement, West Germany paid reparations for its crimes against the Jewish people amounting to more than $800 million in goods over the course of fourteen years (of which $107 million were allocated to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, headed by Nachum Goldmann and representing Jews outside of Israel). Goods bought under this arrangement built up Israel’s infrastructure, including railways and power plants, and helped sustain the households of some half-million Holocaust survivors. An additional $125 million was paid in 1988 to enable survivors around the world to receive monthly payments of $290, and two years later, in the course of unifying with West Germany, East Germany also agreed to pay reparations. In 1999, Germany obtained the dismissal of numerous class action lawsuits, past and future, with a $5 billion payment to a foundation that provided compensation to former slave laborers under the Nazi regime, including 140,000 Jews in 25 countries, until 2006.
“In our name, unspeakable crimes have been committed and they demand restitution, both moral and material, for the persons and properties of the Jews who have been so seriously harmed . . .” —Konrad Adenauer
For a Jewish Currents blog about American reparations for slavery, visit http://jewishcurrents.blogspot.com/2007/04/rreparations-for-slavery-question.html/.