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29.12.2011

Ca­bi­net ad­opts amend­ment to ‘Re­co­gni­ti­on Di­rec­ti­ve’

The Cabinet has adopted an amendment to the Federal Government Directive concerning the payment of amounts to victims of persecution in recognition of work in a ghetto which did not constitute forced labour (Recognition Directive) – promulgated in Fe­deral Ga­zet­te No. 195, p.4608/4609, of 28 De­cem­ber 2011 [PDF, 59KB] .

This is the second revision of the Federal Government Directive of 1 October 2007concerning the payment of amounts to victims of persecution in recognition of work in a ghetto which did not constitute forced labour and which has not been recognised to date under social insurance law.

The Directive of 1 October 2007 was enacted against the background of the very high rate of refusal of applications made under the Act of 20 June 2002regarding the conditions for making pensions payable on the basis of employment in a ghetto (Ghetto Pensions Act – GPA). The Directive made meeting the requirements for receiving payment much easier than under the GPA.

The Federal Social Court’s new rulings on the GPA of 2 and 3 June 2009made it necessary to re-evaluate the situation from the point of view of pensions law and led to the GPA’s eligibility requirements being brought into line with those of the Recognition Directive.

A large number of the pension applications which had been rejected were re-examined by the German Pension Insurance and approved. This affected the further implementation of the Directive in the version of 1 October 2007, since the payments made under the Directive had to be paid back if a GPA pension was granted for identical periods and employment.

For example, repayment had to be made even if the GPA pension granted was well below the payment of €2000 made under the Directive. Such hardship cases had to be avoided.

Under the new version of the Directive, victims of persecution within the meaning of the Federal Compensation Act (Bundesentschädigungsgesetz) who were forced to live in a ghetto under National Socialist influence and worked without coercion during this time in a relationship resembling employment can receive a one-off payment of 2000 euros if no payment has been made, or could have been made, for this work under the Act establishing the “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” foundation. (Forced labour has been conclusively compensated by that Act, including compensation under social insurance law.)

However, the fact that this work in the ghetto has been taken into account in a pension no longer prevents a victim from receiving the recognition payment. The recognition payment is made regardless of whether or not the victim also receives a pension.

As part of the revision process, section 8 of the Directive, which set a deadline for applications, was repealed. This means that applications for the payment in recognition of work in a ghetto can be submitted beyond 31 December 2011.

The Federal Office of Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues (Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen – BADV, located at 53221 Bonn), will on its own initiative reconsider the applications for a recognition payment which were rejected due to the victim receiving a pension and will decide on them on the basis of the new version of the Recognition Directive.

In these cases there is no need for the victim to make a new application. If those concerned have already paid back the recognition payment due to receiving a pension or have had it set off against a (retroactive) GPA pension payment, the amounts thus repaid or set off will be refunded to them.

More information on the Directive and on the application procedure can be found at:

http://www.badv.bund.de

Information can also be obtained by calling +49(0) 228 99 7030 1324 or sending an e-mail to ghettoarbeit@badv.bund.de.

German Version

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