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Belgium Pays Holocaust Reparations

Headline: Belgium Begins Paying Holocaust Reparations

This week Belgium's banks and government agreed to begin paying $170 million in restitution, to families of Holocaust survivors whose property and goods were stolen by Nazi occupiers. The agreement comes years after passing a law authorizing the compensation.

Approximately half of the 50,000 Jews living in Belgium at the beginning of World War II perished in the Holocaust. Of the reparations, $54 million will be paid to individuals, with the rest of the $170 million to be put in a Jewish trust for the poor and for Holocaust education.

The picture above shows a group of Jewish refugee children fleeing Belgium in 1940. At the ceremony announcing the reparations, was a man who had lived in Belgium at the start of World War II, who'd lost eight brothers and a sister during the war. He said that the Nazis took three years of his life, adding, "no money can pay for that."

Is Belgium's reparations plan admirable? Or is there no amount of money that can ease any portion of the pain?


Join The Conversation
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
Reparations will never ease the pain of what happened to an entire innocent race of people, plus the elderly, mentally ill, and Christians who stepped up to save their Jewish brothers and sisters. But it shows that the government knows that they could've done something way back when and they're sorry that they didn't. It's a small step in the right direction.
phatE phatE 9 years
While reparations can't change the horrific outcome of the Holocaust.. Actions speak louder than words, and reparations would be acting on what they've been saying for years. I say do it, and then let the recipients decide where the $$ goes.. If they need it, or want to keep it in the family, etc great. If they want to donate it to further educate on what happened great, it's completely their call and I am all for it.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
MarinerMandy - excellent idea!
XSofieX XSofieX 9 years
The most important thing is to learn from history... to avoid discrimination of certain minorities based on religion/looks/culture etc. I think that its a slippery (sp?) slope once an national disregard of certain people starts since its something thats passed on in families and within the culture itself. Its something that I actually think too many cultures are guilty of today with the incidents of terror and the link between religion and warfare
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I also don't really understand why the government of Belgium is doing this as opposed to the German government. I know a lot of Jews from Belgium were sent to concentration camps, but it has always been my understanding that that happened after the Germans invaded Belgium and exiled Belgium's government. I'm sure there's a lot more to the history of it than I know, though.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Good Point Jillz. I like the idea but Racci is right if every country did this for their past sins we would all be bankrupt [the countries] But, it's admirable that they are doing this. :)
Jillz1128 Jillz1128 9 years
I guess I am slightly confused why Belgium is paying these instead of Germany... I too like the idea of using these funds for good works.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Mariner Mandy, I was writing my comment when yours posted, so I didn't get to see yours first, but I really like your idea about using the money to stop genocide/ethnic cleansing today.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I don't think reparations are necessary, but I still like that they are doing this. I also really like that a lot of the money is going to a Jewish trust and Holocaust education; I think one of the most important things about history is what it can teach us, so the idea of educating more people about the horrors of the Holocaust is one I really like.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
Wow, half the Jewish population died. That is a number that is almost impossible to grasp. I've been learning about the Holocaust since I was young, but the older I get the more terrifying I realize it was. It amazes me that not too long ago an entire group of people were targeted like that. I don't know if reperations are the way to heal the wounds of the past. It's not going to bring anyone or anything back. Using the money for education is extremely important; we can't erase the past, but we can try to elimiate genocide from the future. Heck, maybe the money should go to funding efforts to end all the genocide that is going on today. I think that would be a fabulous legacy.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I think it's great that they're doing this, but I don't think a nation has to keep paying for the sins of its past. If we did, we'd be bankrupt.
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