Nobody can calculate accurately how much the Germans paid for their crimes against the Jews: By any account, they paid neither too much nor enough.
Most of the money was paid before the euro was introduced. If 60 million Germans for 60 years paid some 12 billion Deutsche mark – it works out that each one paid on average DM 33 per year, or less than one mark a week, between 25 and 50 cents.
In the interim, they became one of the wealthiest countries in the world. They owe their present standing among other things to their wise decision to compensate the Holocaust’s survivors. Had they not done so in the early 1950s, they would not have been welcomed so quickly into the family of nations and would also not be so rich today.
None of this changes the fact that the Germans treated Holocaust survivors more fairly than did the Israel government, especially in recent years. Unfortunately, Israel’s attitude toward people in distress is not a worthy example to other countries: not after the Olmert government proposed raising the allowances survivors receive by NIS 83 a month.