German women seized during World War II seek recognitionBreaking News
"We are Germany's forgotten wartime prisoners," said Edith Protze, 79.
All of them had been seized at random by Red Army soldiers during the spring of 1945 and transported across Russia to Siberia, where they spent years in labor camps. As they met Wednesday, legislators in the German Parliament, or Bundestag, were putting the final touches to a law that will provide higher pensions for those who were imprisoned for political reasons by the Communist authorities.
Arnold Vaatz, a legislator in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, has spent years campaigning for these 42,000 pensioners. "This was a long struggle," said Vaatz, who was part of the small dissident movement in the former East Germany. He explained that the former German government led by Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats had taken the issue off the table. It was revived in 2005 when Merkel, who was also brought up in East Germany, became chancellor.
When implemented in the coming months, any German who was imprisoned by the Communists for political reasons for more than half a year will receive an extra monthly pension payment of €250, or $330. The total cost will be €100 million.
"It is the end of a chapter," Vaatz said.
comments powered by Disqus
- Tales of African-American History Found in DNA
- History Celebrates New Show Roots With Project to Digitize Post-Slavery Documents
- In 1453, this Ottoman sultan ended Christian rule in Constantinople. But was he a good Muslim?
- Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation among documents sold for $6.2m in New York
- Family shines light on American POW killed by Hiroshima blast
- History Relevance Campaign meets at the Smithsonian
- Bernard Lewis Turns 100
- David Lowenthal, author of "The Past Is a Foreign Country,” says it’s folly to scratch the names of slaveholders off buildings
- Jean Edward Smith, biographer of FDR and Ike, has a new biography coming out … of George W. Bush
- Flora Fraser, biographer of George and Martha Washington, wins $50,000 George Washington Prize