Newsletter : 7fax0124.txt
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>JN Jan. 24, 1997, Bol. 5, Number 16
Americans in Concentration Camps Can Receive Compensation
By Jim Malone (VOA-Washington)
Attorney General Janet Reno is making an appeal to Americans held
in German concentration camps during World War 2 to come forward
and claim compensation from the German government. The United
States and Germany signed the compensation agreement in 1995.
Reno says hundreds of American citizens, both civilians and
soldiers, were held for a time in concentration camps during World
War 2. Those who are still alive have until Feb. 23 to begin the
process of submitting a claim for compensation.
"Under the agreement, anyone who was interned in a concentration
camp during World War 2 and was an American citizen at the time is
potentially eligible for compensation. But because claimants must
still be living, we are racing against time to compensate them."
The compensation claims are being handled by the Foreign Claims
Settlement Commission in Washington. Delissa Ridgeway heads the
"To date, we have had approximately 250 claims filed. Of course,
we do not know how many of those will be eligible. The reason for
the deadline is frankly because it is a very time consuming process
to document and to verify one of these claims. The records are not
computerized, in many cases there is conflicting information and we
simply have to allow ourselves enough time to do that under the
terms of the agreement with Germany."
Ridgeway says her office is working with the International Red
Cross Tracing Office in Germany on tracking many of the claims.
The Germans, she adds, kept meticulous records during the
The German government has already paid some compensation claims,
including a $2.1 million award given to a small group of American
concentration camp survivors last year.
Ridgeway says some American soldiers were transferred from prisoner
of war camps in Germany to concentration camps. She says some of
the American soldiers were Jewish, others were described as
troublemakers by their German captors. Ridgeway says in some cases
no clear reason was given.
Israelis Abroad May be Allowed to Vote
The Knesset has voted, in a preliminary reading, in favor of a
proposal to allow Israelis who live abroad to vote in national
elections. Current law has no provisions for absentee ballots.
Political circles are in an uproar over the issue, and the
discussion has crossed party lines. In general, the Likud and
coalition Knesset members praise the enhanced connection with
Israel that this law will give Israelis who live abroad, while
Labor and Meretz are against the granting of a voice in critical
decisions to people who do not share directly in the consequences
of the decisions.
Adisu Massala (Labor), who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia, is
in favor of the motion. He opined that participation in Israeli
elections would increase the connection of yordim with the State of
Israel, and that it would certainly not encourage others to
Deputy Minister of Education Moshe Peled (Tzomet), whose party
voted for the bill, said he is against the bill: "The State of
Israel must not grant legitimacy to yordim. This would be a
catastrophe of Zionism. It would enable yordim to feel that they
don't have to live here in order to participate in the State's most
important decisions. I would not want our continuation in office to
be dependent on the remote-control votes of non-residents."
Age of Aquarius Dawned Thursday With a Star of David
An exceedingly rare planetary alignment took place Thursday,
astrologers say. For the first time since the Renaissance, the
heavens briefly lined up in a perfect six-pointed star -- a
galactic Star of David.
Astronomers say the alignment is nothing out of the ordinary, but
astrologers hail the event as a symbolic representation of the
long-heralded dawning of the Age of Aquarius. And across the
world, events have been planned to usher in the new era.
The new era is triggered by the alignment of a series of planets,
which centered on the first degrees of Aquarius and was joined by
the sun with the moon opposite them all. The last time the
alignment took place was in 1475. Thursday's alignment happened
between noon and 4 p.m. ET.
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