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No pension for Auschwitz survivor's widow

July 25, 2012 at 2:11 PM
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DUSSELDORF, Germany, July 25 (UPI) -- A German woman whose late husband received an Auschwitz survivor pension was denied illness benefits because he was misdiagnosed in 1957, officials say.

The North Rhine-Westphalia state government ruled that Anton B., who died in 2009, was wrongly found to have a heart problem caused by the time he spent in Auschwitz, the notorious concentration camp in Poland, The Local.de reported. Eva B., who married Anton in 1975, has now sued to collect his 600-euro ($730) monthly pension.

Anton B. was Roma. During World War II, thousands of Roma, the group also known as Gypsies, were sent to Aushwitz and most, including Anton's 10 brothers and sisters, died there.

Under German law, concentration camp survivors must be suffering from an illness or disability related to their imprisonment to be entitled to a pension. For surviving spouses to get pensions, their husbands or wives must have died of a cause related to their camp stay.

Die Tageszeitung, a left-wing German daily, said the second reason is often used to deny benefits to spouses. Deciding that a diagnosis made decades ago was wrong is far more unusual.

The case is scheduled to be heard in a court in Dusseldorf on Aug. 7.

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