FaithWorld

German abuse victims humiliated by compensation sums

By Reuters Staff
December 13, 2010

heimkinder

(Photo: A man wearing a T-shirt reading “former foster home child” at a news conference presenting the final report on abuse in foster homes in Berlin, December 13, 2010./Thomas Peter)

German victims of abuse in foster homes say the 120 million euros proposed as compensation was “humiliatingly” small compared with damages awarded in other countries, and vowed to fight for more. After a two-year inquiry, a government-appointed panel on Monday recommended 120 million euros be set aside for an estimated 30,000 victims expected to file abuse claims.

“It’s a poor start to the compensation process and another humiliation of victims,” the VEH victims’ group leader Monika Tschapek-Güntner said. “Roughly 30,000 victims are expected to apply for damages which will leave individuals between 2,000 and 4,000 euros.”

Tschapek-Güntner said that a deal struck between abuse victims and the Catholic Church in Ireland resulted in payments averaging 76,000 euros per victim. Irish compensation claims are expected to top 1 billion euros.

Between 1949 and 1975 up to 800,000 children and youths lived in foster care in West Germany where claimants have alleged rampant physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Roughly two-thirds of those in foster care lived in church-run homes. Both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches in Germany applauded the panel’s recommendations.

Read the full story by Eric Kelsey here. A PDF of the full report is here in German.

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According to even conservative estipulations we have produced a GDP for Germany of billions of Euros. With our small bodies and to the cost of our own health, wellbeing, education and own prosperity, as the vast majority of us never was allowed to go to good schools and accordingly could not study or even learn a remunerative profession.

And today that we are old, ill, worn out they want to fob us off with that ludicrously low sum of 120 millions of Euros. This means if really only 30,000 of the estimated 500,000 to 800,000 survivors would apply to the funds for some sort of compensation, each one would receive only 4,000 Euros! Not having been considered yet the pension top-up fund nor the rental allowances for victims that otherwise would have to live in a home for the old!

4,000 Euros for years of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, for slave labor, forced religion, for incarceration, lack of education and the total absence of love and joy in our young lives? For shattered lives and broken bones, for torn flesh and utmost humiliation, for nights standing in unheated hallways or even outside in the snow? For decades of haunting fear and terrible dreams, for the impossibility of lasting partnerships and the frustrations of sexual relationships?

NO! We can and will not accept this new humiliation!

We do not ask reparation for the damages we have suffered bause we know: No one can return our youth, nothing will bring back our sexual, physical and psychological integrety! But we do expect a sum that will relieve the bitterness and hardness some! Germany as one of the richest countries on Earth does owe us at least as much!

The now negotiated sum at best is a spoof of us, the survivors. And it is a shame and a scandal for Germany!

A German Survivor of church education

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