The pending trial of a German judge accused of “harming the reputation of German courts” by his work on Holocaust restitution has Israeli survivors up in arms, taking their case directly to Berlin’s envoy in Tel Aviv.
Judge Jan-Robert von Renesse, whose grandfather served in the SS, has come under increasing scrutiny by his colleagues over his judicial activism in seeking to provide Israeli survivors with pensions, sometimes despite a lack of paperwork required by the German government.
According to a report in Yediot Aharonot, von Renesse has been suffering harassment for several years, which is now culminating in a trial due to commence on March 10.
At the heart of the controversy is a 2002 German law granting pensions to Jews who worked voluntarily while interned in ghettos.
Due to the unexpectedly large number of those who applied, around 70,000, 90 percent of requests were denied on the basis of a lack of documentation. Such documentation would have been nearly impossible to receive in the ghetto, let alone keep throughout the period of the Holocaust.