Center for German and European Studies

70 Years of German Compensation Law - Germany’s Responsibility for Victims of WWII and the Holocaust

Thursday, January 26, 2023
12 - 1:30 pm Eastern Time (US)
Zoom Webinar


About the Event

Group of men in suits sitting at a big table with paperwork in black in whiteOn September 15th, 2022, the German government commemorated 70 years of compensation law for victims of WWII and the Holocaust. It began in December 1951, when then German Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer made a now-famous speech about the moral obligation of the young republic towards crime committed in the name of the German People. This declaration in parliament paved the way for complicated negotiations between the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of Israel, and the Jewish Claims Conference. These negotiations led to the Luxembourg Agreement of December 10th 1952, and the German Federal Compensation Law (BEG). The legislation would be the first of many initiatives taken over the course of the following years. The reunification of Germany in 1990, and the fall of the Soviet Empire brought with it the need to address unresolved compensation issues both with Jewish Holocaust Victims and other groups. The creation of the Remembrance, Past and Future Fund for victims of forced labor, and the enactment of the amendment to the Federal Social Security law (ZRBG) - the so-called Ghetto pension law, are among more recent steps in the history of German Compensation. Join legal expert Avi Weber for an overview of these developments, a reflection on what has been done, but also a critical look towards the German government’s continuing and future obligations.

In the news: The Fight for Rights of Holocaust Survivors—Transforming a Breach of Basic International Humanitarian Law Rights into Individual Compensations Programs

About the Speaker

Headshot of Avi Weber smilingDr. iur. Avraham Weber, LL..M, is a lawyer at Weber & Co. specializing in German and European law. Since 2008 he is the consultant to the Ministry for Social Equality chartered by the Israeli government to negotiate with foreign governments for restitution of property and Jewish rights. He holds a double Masters degree in Law, and obtained his PhD at Justus Liebig University Giessen in 2015. He is an adjunct Lecturer at Reichamm University, Israel, Philipps Marburg University, Germany, and a visiting scholar of CUNY Brooklyn college.

As of 2005 Dr.Weber is a board member of the Israeli German chamber of commerce (IHK) and as of 2010 a member founder of the Czech Israeli chamber of commerce. In 2012 he was appointed by the Tel Aviv Bar association to chair the Czech-Tel Aviv lawyers friendship association. As of August 2020 he is a member of the board of the EVZ fund (Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft - Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future).