Belgian lawmakers want an end to German pensions for Nazi collaborators

In the aftermath of World War II, around 80,000 Belgians were convicted of collaborating with the SS and of committing war crimes, according to lawmakers.
Image: Adolf Hitler and the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, walking past a guard of honor in Nuremberg, September 1935
SS head Heinrich Himmler and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in Nuremberg in September 1935.ullstein bild Dtl. / Getty Images file

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By Saphora Smith

Belgian lawmakers want Germany to stop paying war pensions to Nazi collaborators, saying the payments are a contradiction of the European Union's founding principles.

The Belgian parliament's Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution Tuesday calling on its government to ask Germany to stop providing the tax-free money. It also stressed the "injustice" of such payments because victims of Nazism do not receive similar allowances.

In the aftermath of World War II, around 80,000 Belgians were convicted of collaborating with Adolf Hitler's SS and of committing war crimes while the country was occupied by the Nazis, according to lawmakers.

However, some of these people benefited from a series of Hitler's decrees, including the right to German nationality and a war pension in exchange for their actions.

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The committee's resolution said that the pensions were "for collaboration with one of the most murderous regimes in history."

The leader of the DéFI party lodged the original version of the resolution in 2016. A spokeswoman for the party said Wednesday that up to 27 people are still believed to be receiving the payments.

Recipients' names are only known by the German ambassador and had not been shared with the Belgian government, according to lawmakers.

It is not clear how much the convicted collaborators receive each month.

Some people living in Britain were also receiving the payments, the committee said.

Belgium's parliament is due to vote on the resolution next month.

British officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said in a statement that no benefits are paid to former SS members.

Carlo Angerer contributed.