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Historical Reflections on Holocaust Reparations: Unfinished Business or an Example for Other Reparations Campaigns?

Ludi, Regula
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) In Max du Plessis and Stephen Pete, ed., Repairing the Past? International Perspectives on Reparations for Gross Human Rights Abuses. Oxford, UK: Intersentia. Pp. 119-144.

“…For an overall assessment, we cannot judge Holocaust reparations simply according to the amount of money transferred to survivors. We also need to look at the winding road taken by reparations’ politics since the end of the Second World War. What were the purpose and rationale of reparations? Who were the beneficiaries of restitution and compensation mechanism, and for what types of abuses did claimants receive redress? Who financed compensation payments, and did such payments entail acknowledgement of legal responsibility by the State? I shall try to find answers to these questions by addressing four dimensions of the Holocaust reparations: First I shall discuss the emergence of victim reparations in the context of international law in the course of the post-ware ‘Juridical Revolution,’ the bundle of legal responses to Nazi atrocities. The second and third aspects to be examined relate to German diplomatic and domestic policies in response to victims’ claims, including lump-sum payments to Israel and various European countries as well as domestic legislation regarding property restitution, compensation payments for the violation of basic rights and the repeal of abusive judgements. Finally the fourth issue concerns recognition of victimhood and allocation of benefits in compensation practice.” (abstract)


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