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Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Belgium to pay Holocaust victims

Gate to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Germany - 2006 file photo
Belgium has apologised for its role in helping Jewish deportations

The Belgian government and banks have agreed to pay Holocaust survivors, their family members and the Jewish community $170m (85m; 110m euros).

A government commission on compensation has decided that $54m (27m; 35m euros) will be paid to about 5,000 claimants and the rest will go to a trust fund.

The money is to compensate Belgian Jews whose property or goods were looted during the German occupation of WWII.

Nearly 25,000 Belgian Jews perished during the Holocaust.

The head of the indemnification commission, Lucien Buysse, said the funds were not for "moral compensation" but for "material goods that have been stolen".

Claimants are receiving anything from several hundred dollars to $30,000 (15,000) to cover stolen property, assets, jewellery, furniture and other items.

Campaigners have welcomed the compensation but some have said more should be done to examine the role of the Belgian state in the persecution of Jews under German occupation from 1940-44.

Last year, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt apologised for Belgian authorities' involvement in the deportation of Jews to Nazi concentration camps.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Belgium
19 Dec 07 |  Country profiles
How Britain is settling old debts
28 Sep 04 |  Magazine
US pays out for looting Nazi gold
12 Mar 05 |  Americas
Swiss wind up Holocaust fund
03 May 02 |  Europe
Holocaust heirs win record payout
14 Apr 05 |  Americas


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