Holocaust Reparations — A Growing Scandal

Holocaust Reparations — A Growing
Gabriel Schoenfeld, Commentary

By the end of World War II, a chilling 53 million people had been
killed in cities, concentration camps and battlefields. Today, over
100,000 Holocaust survivors get monthly pensions from the German
government, and, after five and a half decades, the issue of
Holocaust reparations is recentering itself on the political stages
of the US and Israel. It has also become a site for great
contention. Gabriel Schoenfeld from Commentary
sorts out the issues complicated by time, asking
some tough questions along the way: Why is interest in Holocaust
reparations piquing at this late date? Who has yet to pay their
fair share–the Swiss banks, the Netherlands? Has the organized
Jewish community itself been pursuing Holocaust claims in a
legitimate manner? After so many years, compensating for losses
(meaning everything from slave labor to stolen artwork, uncollected
bank accounts to stock-exchange holdings) is highly problematic,
but many are fighting for every last mark, with plenty of Holocaust
lawyers (some charging per hour what a survivor receives from the
German government a year) chomping at the bit. Schoenfeld
recommends instead of focusing on financial restitution, an
overhaul on historical thought on the Holocaust is needed: ‘To
Abraham Foxman, (Holocaust survivor) the reduction of the Holocaust
to a matter of dollars and cents amounts to a ‘desecration’ and
‘too high a price to pay for a justice we will never achieve’…It
is past time to reconsider.’ –Amanda
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