BERLIN- Germany's main Jewish body is calling on the German government and parliament to step in on behalf of survivors of World War II ghettoes who have not yet received a German pension for their work.
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Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement March 1 that political leaders should not allow the "wrong and fatal impression" that they are playing with time, waiting for survivors to die. Noting that the average age of the survivors is 85, Graumann said that "every day the circle of possible recipients is growing ever smaller. So now is not the time for petty arithmetic, but rather for speedy action."
Germany's Federal Social Court had granted the survivor pension entitlement back in 2009 after the Bundestag unanimously approved pension payments for former ghetto workers in 2002, retroactive to 1997. But the German Pension Insurance Organization reportedly awarded pensions to only a small fraction of those who qualified, critics have said.
One hurdle is that German social law only allows for four years of retroactive payments. Three German parties - the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party - have put in a formal request that the government make up the difference for the survivors.