Dozens of pensioners in Belgium and the UK are still receiving secret payments from Germany for collaborating with the Nazi government during the Second World War, according to a document presented to the Belgian parliament.
The national authorities are unaware of their identities, which are known only to the German ambassadors in each country, meaning the payments are tax free. Around 30 Belgians receive the money, with the number in the UK not mentioned in the document.
Those concerned are citizens who pledged loyalty and obedience to Hitler following Germany’s occupation of Belgium and signed up to serve in the SS. Even though many of these were subsequently found guilty of collaboration by Belgian courts.
A group of Francophone politicians in Belgium presented a proposal to parliament to demand that the government address the issue with counterparts in Berlin. It was approved unanimously in a vote.
“The situation is the same in the UK, where former SS members also receive pensions directly from Germany without the payments being either communicated to, or taxed by, the British authorities,” Olivier Maingain, Stephane Crusniere, Veronique Caprasse and Daniel Senesael wrote.
The sums concerned are believed to vary between 435 and 1,275 euros a month, according to RTBF which pointed out that Germany pays 50 euros a month to people who were deported or subjected to forced labour during the war.
The Belgian MPs urged the government to “restore justice – fiscal, social and memorial – befitting historic and moral commitments taken by the founders of Europe, including our country and Germany.”
The pensions were the only decree implemented by Hitler that was not revoked at the Potsdam Conference of 1945, the document’s authors note.