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Clawing back welfare over-payments

brian_eggleston
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4/19/2011 11:42:56 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
So far, The Claims Conference has approved 84,645 Holocaust survivors for payment through the Compensation and Restitution Fund, which is financed by the German taxpayer, and it has paid out approximately $3.1 billion to date - that's an average of $36,900 (€25,600) per claimant. [1]

In order to be eligible for these welfare payments, claimants need to be Jewish and have spent at least six months interned in a Nazi concentration camp (or have been a fetus within the womb of a Jewish internee in such a camp). [3]

Of course, it is right that The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany should have sought and obtained compensation for Jewish victims of the Holocaust* but the fact is that German people have overpaid the victims because the scheme did not take into account any monies or benefits that the victims were already in receipt of.

For example, according to hostelworld.com, the cheapest accommodation currently available in Auschwitz costs €35.50 per night; that's the equivalent €12,780 per victim per annum that the German taxpayer has already doled out under the Nazi regime. [4]

Then, let's add, say, €5.00 per day to cover the cost of three basic meals and that's another €1,825.00 per annum in food that the victims have already had at the German taxpayers' expense.

Now, adding to this the cost of a one-way second class rail ticket to Auschwitz from, for example, Berlin at €80.00 [5,6] once again courtesy of the German taxpayer, and we can calculate that a recipient of money through the Compensation and Restitution Fund that spent a year in a Nazi concentration camp now owes the German government a total of €14,685.

Of course, with many of these claimants now live in Israel, Britain and the United States, or have died so, unfortunately, Germany will have to write off a lot of the money the Jews owe them.

Nevertheless, they should try to claw back as much as they can, and the amount that will be deemed unrecoverable can be used as a bargaining chip when negotiating the return of any Nazi gold that may come to light in the future.

[1] http://www.claimscon.org...
[2] http://www.claimscon.org...
[3] http://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de...
[4] http://www.hostelworld.com...
[5] http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de...
[6] http://rozklad-pkp.pl...

* It is a shame that gypsies, political dissidents and other non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust were excluded from the scheme and are, therefore, ineligible for any hand-outs.
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