This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Luxembourg Agreement, the resulting agreements from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, commonly known as the Claims Conference. The meeting, held just six years after the Holocaust, negotiated tens of billions of dollars in compensation for survivors of the Holocaust, implemented the following year. Each year, the Claims Conference continues to support survivors in dozens of countries around the world. Just last month, the German government pledged another $1.2 billion in funding, including funds explicitly for Holocaust education for the first time.
The staggering level of support from the German government is in line with the horrors perpetrated by the Nazi government between 1933 and 1945. The Claims Conference, while clearly unable to atone for the past, is an attempt by the German government to answer to crimes committed against European Jews under the Nazi regime. On a recent trip to Berlin, I was reminded that signs of this culpability extend all the way down to the streets, where memorials, placards, and other public history displays make clear the role of the National Socialist government in perpetrating the Holocaust.