Holocaust's children sue

'Second-generation' survivors in Israel demand Germany pay for psychiatric care.


    More than 60 years after the end of the second world war, the children of Holocaust survivors have filed a fresh lawsuit demanding compensation from the German government.


    The so-called second generation claim their lives have been scarred by the genocide visited upon their parents.


    Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher went to meet a survivor deeply affected by her mother's nightmare.


    Shlomit Raz was born in 1956 but she says she's a victim of the Holocaust. She is the child of a survivor.


    Her mother escaped the death camps and set up home in Israel, but the impact of what happened in Germany has touched every day of her life.


    Shlomit Raz says she grew up with so much hate
    Raz recalled that one of her earliest memories was from when she was a typical four-year old running around and being naughty.


    "I remember my father used to tell me don't speak loud, don't laugh loud, don't disturb your mother, she suffered in the Holocaust, she saw how her mother was killed in front of her eyes."


    And she says her life is little more than a shell.


    "I found myself with nothing ... not learning what is love, what is giving, how to build my own life ... how to build a family if I wanted. I just grew up with so much hate."


    Nathan Durst, one of Israel's leading psychologists, is also a Holocaust survivor.


    He lost his parents and two sisters in the Auschwitz extermination camp.


    Durst told Al Jazeera that in some cases the real mental problems suffered by the second generation were created by the stories of the survivors.


    He recalled his own fears as a child: "Everybody was my enemy, so what do I teach my children? Beware of strangers they are enemies and so I am a child growing up and this is the lesson I got."


    "So what we see is the second generation experience difficulty of bonding, of making relationships and of keeping relationships".


    Now a $30m lawsuit has been filed in a Tel Aviv court.  


    The suit demand that Germany to foot the bill for psychiatric treatment for the children of Holocaust survivors. The court has yet to decide if it can hear the claim.


    Meanwhile, the German government is saying nothing at this stage.


    An estimated six million Jews were killed as part of Hitler's final solution programme during the Second World War.


    Germany has paid out more than $60 billion to concentration camp survivors, families of the victims and to the state of Israel since the 1950s.


    There is concern though that success with this latest class action could open the door to a never ending run of law suits against it.


    The man behind this latest move is Gideon Fisher, an Israeli lawyer, who represents around 4,000 people. He wants Germany to pay for help for all the victims for three years – with no extra damages.


    Fisher believes that the Holocaust is not part of the Jewish peoples' past but rather part of their present.


    "The Holocaust is still here kicking and when you look and talk and hear the stories of the second generation, you actually feel that it is still here. You know the Germans are with the final solution, maybe this is the final generation that has to suffer from the final solution."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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