Chapter

German Reparations to the Jews after World War II

Ariel Colonomos and Andrea Armstrong

in The Handbook of Reparations

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199291922
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603716 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199291926.003.0011
German Reparations to the Jews after World War II

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The post-world war II German-Israeli reparations program is the largest, most comprehensive reparations program ever implemented. Traditionally, reparations were supported by the vanquished and were designed to compensate the victor for the damages caused during the war. The Wiedergutmachung (literally “making the good again”) program as it is called in Germany, or Shilumim (the payments) as Israelis usually prefer to refer to it, innovates in many areas and goes beyond this interstate framework. Jewish leaders participated in the Luxembourg negotiations that led to the signature of the 1952 treaty, and community networks played a crucial role in the distribution of the money to the victims. Civil society groups played an instrumental role in the United States as plans for reparations were being discussed during the war. Neither the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) nor Israel existed during the war. Reparations have been paid to the state of Israel and were paid to Jewish Holocaust survivors regardless of their nationality. The FRG benefited politically and economically from this treaty. It was able to enter the international arena and establish diplomatic relations with Israel, whose economy greatly benefited from the money it received.

Keywords: World War II; Germany; Israel; Jews; reparations program; Wiedergutmachung; Shilumim; Holocaust

Chapter.  12577 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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