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Karl Hauff: Memorandum on the Condition of Victims of Political, Racial, and Religious Persecution by the Nazi Regime (1947)

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It would be a matter of course and an act of and justice if a law was passed stipulating that:

1. The support of victims of political, racial, and religious persecution and their families is not to be regarded as social welfare.
2. The support paid to their relatives, also during periods of incarceration or exile, carries no obligation for repayment.
3. The granting of support, if no other income is available, is not subject to the welfare office guidelines for entitlement due to poverty.

Only a relatively small number of people could be supported with government funds allocated by the Office for Restitution [Amt für Wiedergutmachung]. A large part of them, including many long-term inmates who usually modestly remain in the background, have not received anything up until now. There is a pressing need for the allocation of significant funds to be paid towards eventual restitution. [ . . . ]

In various German federal states [Länder] (including in the American zone), tax-free payments have been granted, and it would be an act of justice and a form of partial compensation if, in Württemberg-Baden, too, the victims of Nazi persecution, who are already shouldering enough of a burden due to indirect taxation, were granted a tax-free payment.

Today, there are still victims of political, racial, and religious persecution who are living in bad conditions (in Stuttgart about 200 are still homeless). There is a great lack of furniture and other necessities of daily life as well.

There has been great resistance to employing victims of political persecution by the Nazi regime. While everything is being done to reinstate former party members in good positions, there still are former political prisoners who spent more than ten years in jail who still do not have work or who are being given the worst kind of employment. [ . . . ]

The responsibility for providing healthcare to victims of Nazi persecution was assumed by the Southern German Physicians’ and Medical Aid Organization [Süddeutsche Ärzte- und Sanitätshilfe]. In the rehabilitation facilities established by this organization, it was possible, thanks to additional shipments of food and medication from Switzerland, to restore the health of many.

A general regulation of government support has been expected for some time. Law no. 133 on the establishment and tentative use of a special fund for compensation purposes, which was recently published, did not meet these expectations. On the positive side, the law creates the possibility of separating the care and support for victims of political persecution by the Nazi regime from general welfare services. However, the achievements of this law can only be considered partly satisfactory.

[ . . . ]

For all enlightened minds, it goes without saying that it is the moral obligation of the state government to assume responsibility for support in its entirety. This has already happened in other federal states [Länder], in the American zone, in Bavaria and Hesse as well.

Among other things, the Hessian minister president declared in his inaugural address that providing compensation to the victims of political, racial, and religious persecution was a matter of honor for the Hessian government.

It is not inappropriate to demand a government solution in Württemberg-Baden as well, one that does justice to the victims of Nazi persecution. They fought for freedom by trying to save the German people from today’s misery, and a people is only deserving of freedom if it honors those who risked their lives for freedom.

Württemberg-Baden State Committee
of Victims of Political Persecution by the Nazi Regime
signed Hauff.

Source: HStA Stuttagrt, EA 1/90, Bue. 725; reprinted in Udo Wengst and Hans Günther Hockerts, Geschichte der Sozialpolitik in Deutschland seit 1945, Bd. 2/2: 1945-1949: Die Zeit der Besatzungszonen. Sozialpolitik zwischen Kriegsende und der Gründung zweier deutscher Staaten. Dokumente [The History of Social Policy in Germany since 1945, Vol. 2/2: 1945-1949. The Era of the Occupation Zones. Social Policy between the End of the War and the Founding of Two German States. Documents]. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2001, pp. 278-80.

Translation: Insa Kummer

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