In the sphere of criminal injury claims, anyone who has suffered as a result of someone else’s actions, be it a scuffle or a full-blown assault, has the right to compensation. This is the reason Germany (the government and federal budget), has paid over $89 billion over six decades, using a post-war reparations program, to those who suffered from Nazi crimes.
The program is still today continuously being changed and expanded, in order to make sure that anyone who has suffered injury and trauma is covered. Their aim is to reach tens of thousands of elderly survivors who were stripped of help and support. The system is historically unique, and praised by many. Anyone who can prove they hid from Nazis for at least six months is eligible to claim compensation.
One survivor in particular stated he was not interested in receiving any money, but that actually it has made him re-evaluate his perceptions as he reflects how the process of working with the former enemy, towards a common goal, is major progression. He believes it is a way for survivors of the Holocaust and the Germans of today to unite, as they do not wish the past to become their children’s future. Julius Berman, chairman of the claims conference, stated that this compensation is not about the money for those receiving it, but about the recognition of victims.
America on the other hand, refuse to pay reparations to those who suffered as a result of 400 years of slavery. Over recent years, The Reparations Coordinating Committee has called for a lawsuit against the government and major corporations, as slavery was mainly a form of cotton production, where workers would go unpaid.
General William Tecumseh Sherman, first suggested that freed slaves should be entitled to 40 acres of land and a mule. However the idea was immediately rejected. Sherman is not the only one to agree that slaves who have suffered from criminal injury and breaches in employment law should be compensated for their struggles. Civil rights activist Randall Robinson, wrote a book called “The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks”, which became a best-seller and made more people aware about what could be done to help those who were victimised, particularly since America paid $20,000 to 100,000 Japanese-Americans who were sent to an internment camp during World War II.
The problem is that debates arise as to who should pay this compensation, as most white Americans descend from immigrants who arrived after the abolition, and also who should be eligible to claim. However despite these issues, many still believe that if the government commit a crime against a segment of the population, they should be responsible for making amendments, especially as black people remain tormented by the era of slavery, and still have to suffer from the discrimination that followed as a result.
What do you think?