Rapid help needed

On the occasion of the handover of the final report of the Round Table on Institutionalized Education to the President of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, all those involved called for the recommendations to be implemented quickly. The fates of the home children of the 50s and 60s are anything but a "routine topic" for the parliament, said Lammert on Wednesday in the Bundestag.

The chairwoman of the Round Table, Green Party politician Antje Vollmer, called for implementation of the proposals before the end of the year. Among other things, the establishment of the foundation proposed in the final report with a volume of at least 120 million euros must be clarified, Vollmer said. From this, former Heimkinder should receive support and pension back payments. In addition, regional contact points for those affected are needed as quickly as possible, which the state parliaments still have to approve.

The Federal Ministry for Families announced a transitional arrangement for the nationwide contact point set up by the Round Table. After the mandate of the previous body expires at the end of February, the work is to be secured for a further twelve months. This was agreed with the states on Tuesday evening. The Round Table also plans to meet again in six months to take stock of the situation.

Representatives of those affected, meanwhile, again criticized that instead of general compensation, only payments to individual victims of home education should be decided upon. Many home children would consider it a new injustice if they were not compensated, said Sonja Djurovic, a representative of home children. Moreover, the shame and stigma are so deeply rooted that most victims would not come forward anyway.

Already on Tuesday the speaker of the former home children in Lower Saxony, J?rgen Beverf?rden, had announced to want to fight before the European Court of Justice for human rights in Strasbourg for pensions and unique payments for the concerning. Rolf Breitfeld, a non-voting representative of the children in care at the Round Table, called the sum of 120 million euros "pitiful". At the end of its deliberations, however, the Round Table agreed to keep the fund open at the top.

The President of the Church Office of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Hans Ulrich Anke, underlined the expectation that the aid will be granted quickly and without bureaucratic hurdles. The churches, in consultation with the contact point, had already provided assistance in acute emergencies, such as hospitalization. This should also be maintained during the transitional period until the foundation is established.

The president of the Diakonisches Werk der EKD, Johannes Stockmeier, added that the churches had declared their willingness to ame their share of the planned fund. The public expects rightly that now also the countries and the federation make appropriate promises, so that the concerning can be helped fast. The Secretary of the German Bishops' Conference, Hans Langendorfer, warned against "unnecessary delays".

From the 1940s until the 1970s, 700.000 to 800.000 children and young people in institutions. More than half of the facilities were run by churches.

After two years of work, the Round Table came to the conclusion that the children in care were often seriously wronged. These include humiliating and brutal treatment, violence, sexual assault, deprivation of liberty and forced labor. It is not known how many former children in institutions would be entitled to a payment from the fund. In the past two years, several thousand victims have reported to the office of the Round Table and other contact points.

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