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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The administrative state- for bad and for good

Hitler's extensive use of the administrative state  has been widely acknowledged as something that set apart the Holocaust from prior genocides.   This observation is, of course, not to trivialize other genocides, but to draw attention to the ways in which the use of the state machinery facilitated the seeming efficiency of the horrors perpetuated against Jews, gays, Roma stinti, communists, and others during WWII.

What I think is interesting is that the German government has been using many of the same administrative tendencies to help foster restitution. While some of their programs are relatively well known, I thought I'd mention the relatively newly minted  German Ghetto Labor Compensation fund (as distinguished from the German Pensions for Work in Ghettos).  This  fund  provides a payment of 2000 euros to victims of Nazi persecution who were (a) held in a ghetto, (b) worked without force during this period, and (3) whose work has not already been taken into account for an old age pension. 

Not suprisingly, the German government is requiring a fair amount of documentation from the applicants to cross check with their own labor rolls and other papers. So many lawyers across the country are helping fill out application forms which must be "fully completed, signed, and authenticated. " Hat tip to my brother, Seth, for setting up a clinic in Houston to do just that. 

Application forms in English are available at: http://www.badv.bund.de

Application forms in German are available at: http://www.badv.bund.de

Posted by Lesley Wexler on August 20, 2008 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

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