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Decree on Aid Measures for Former Political Prisoners (1945)

In view of the enormity of the crimes of the Nazi regime, compensation was on the list of Allied demands even before Germany’s defeat. After the war, the individual German states were responsible for making restitution for Nazi crimes and providing material compensation for the injustice suffered by surviving victims. At the end of 1945, the Interior Ministry of the state of Württemberg-Baden outlined the kind of material help that former political prisoners or those persecuted on religious or racial grounds could receive.

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The Ministry of the Interior of Württemberg-Baden to District Administrators [Landräte] and to the Mayors of Cities that Constitute Administrative Districts
Decree: Aid Measures for Former Political Prisoners

Stuttgart, December 17, 1945

The former political prisoners must be given special care. That group includes especially

a) former concentration camp, prison, and jail inmates who were imprisoned for political, religious, or racial reasons;

b) emigrants who escaped the clutches of the Gestapo through flight and demonstrably continued their fight against the Nazi regime from abroad;

c) widows, children, and parents of those murdered and executed by Fascism on account of their struggle [against it], provided that they stood loyally by those who were murdered and executed and rejected Fascism for their part as well.

With regard to the granting of food allowances, the Ministry of Economics, Department of Agriculture and Nutrition, issued the requisite regulations in its circular decree of November 14, 1945, No. 860.

A uniform approach in the various districts is also called for with respect to economic care. The city of Stuttgart has drawn up the following guidelines to that end:

“Former concentration camp inmates who used to live in Stuttgart or who wish to settle in Stuttgart are given special care. Even if making restitution for the harm done to these inmates cannot be the task of the welfare office and the city of Stuttgart, the city government is concerned with easing the lot of these people. In cases of indigence, they are given, first off, a cash payment of 30 Marks, without exception; in addition, they will be cared for within the framework of the general guidelines for standard welfare. Special assistance can be granted depending on need. For the procurement of clothing, verifiable political prisoners will receive the maximum amount of 250 Marks, for the procurement of household goods, 400 Marks.

Under certain conditions (previous residence in Stuttgart or a minimum of 3 years in a concentration camp), a one-time honorary payment of 200-300 Marks, graduated according to family circumstances, can also be authorized. Finally, the surviving spouse of a political prisoner who was murdered or died in a concentration camp can receive a payment of 200 Marks, and each surviving child 50 Marks. To the extent possible, items of clothing and linens will also be granted. Additional benefits: food allowances, preferred allocation of housing by the housing office; in cases of illness, the granting of sickness payments [Krankenhilfe].”

The following is stipulated with respect to the basic rates for public welfare:

“These basic rates also apply in principle to Jews and persons who need help as a result of political persecution; however, for them, in specially justified cases of need, the basic rate can be raised to one-and-a-half times the normal amount. Compensation claims by such individuals cannot be satisfied within the framework of public welfare, however.”

The recommendation is to proceed in a similar manner and hereby cooperate with the support offices set up by the Association of Political Prisoners and Persecutees of the Nazi System in individual districts.

The intent is to use state funds to repay, either entirely or partially, the expenses incurred by district associations for these care measures. A special directive in this respect is reserved.

On behalf of Buchmann

Source: IfZ-Archiv, OMGUS, 12/26-2/26; reprinted in Udo Wengst, Geschichte der Sozialpolitik in Deutschland, 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, 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, no. 39, pp. 110-11.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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