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20 Feb, 2019 08:35

Belgian Nazi collaborators still receive pensions for ‘loyalty’ to Hitler – media

Belgian Nazi collaborators still receive pensions for ‘loyalty’ to Hitler – media

Almost 75 years after the end of WWII, a small number of Belgians who pledged allegiance to Hitler are still getting the promised loyalty bonuses that have never been taxed, local media reports. Germany denies the claims.

Twenty-seven Belgians continue to receive between €425 and €1,275 (US$482-$1,446) per month from the German government, according to Flemish newspaper De Morgen. The allowance was to guarantee their “fidelity, loyalty, and obedience” to Adolf Hitler under a Nazi-era decree that still remains in force 74 years after the fall of the Third Reich.

De Morgen quoted researcher Alvin de Coninck, who explained those who qualified for ‘Hitler’s pension’ were residents of Belgium’s border regions who acquired German nationality during the Nazi occupation. Others were Belgians who joined the Waffen-SS – the armed wing of the SS – or other branches of the German military.

Responding to inquiries from Belgian lawmakers, the German Labor Ministry said on Wednesday that only 18 people in Belgium are currently receiving war disability pensions and “there are no former members of the Waffen-SS” among them, according to AP.

There’s a particularly sad irony in the story, according to de Coninck, who also works for a local association of Nazi concentration camp survivors.

Belgians forced to work in Germany during the occupation only received €50 per month in compensation after the war, he said, while the 27 recipients of Hitler’s loyalty allowance have never been taxed on this additional income, as the German Embassy did not report their names to the Belgian government.

The revelation caused quite a stir in Belgium, with local MPs demanding the bizarre arrangement be put to an end. On Tuesday, a resolution was introduced in parliament calling on the government “to tackle this problem through diplomatic means as a matter of urgency.”

These people, however, are not the only ones that receive this kind of allowance. In 2015, it emerged that around €100,000 of German taxpayer money was paid to Spaniards who signed up for the notorious Blue Division that fought the Red Army between 1941 and 1944. The money was split between 41 veterans, eight widows, and an orphan.

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“It’s an absolute disgrace to think the German government is still paying out to Nazi volunteers,” MP Jon Inarritu of the left-wing Basque party Amaiur told the Local at the time. “It doesn’t make sense, contravenes EU law, and serves to humiliate victims of fascism,” he said. 

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