Since the end of WWII, Jewish groups have been suing Germany and Axis owned businesses for reparations for their roles in the holocaust. In a similar vein, have the Russians ever sent the Jews a bill for liberating the concentration camps?

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    Seems strange that this question is worded to apply to "the Jews" even though the Soviets and Americans freed other victims from camps, including Roma/Sinti and political prisoners. – NL7 Apr 10 '14 at 18:41
  • But the Jews are the most prominent ethnicity of the camp victims. – Clint Eastwood Apr 11 '14 at 1:39
  • @ClintEastwood no, just the group singled out as the posterchild, in no small part because the western allies were ashamed of their own anti-semitism which had caused them to send many Jewish refugees back to Germany pre-WW2 (Stalin had just put them in his own camps which were no better than the German ones). – jwenting Apr 11 '14 at 11:10
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    1) Jews were not mere posterchilds. Of all the types of prisoners (Roma, Homosexuals, Communists, Slavs) in the extermination camps, Jews were the most numerous. There were many Soviet POWS, but they were not singled out for extermination like these other groups were. 2) Stalin had labor & concentration camps, which were bad, but he never had camps set up specifically for extermination. Some of Stalin's camps were equal to Hitler's, but Hitler had camps that were worse than Stalin's. – Clint Eastwood Apr 11 '14 at 13:24
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    I don't particularly like this question, but the reason for closing it mystifies me. It's very clearly historical in nature. – Kyle Strand Apr 12 '14 at 17:32

The first situation is about retrieval or recompense for property stolen and damage inflicted. The second situation is about extorting money from victims of oppression. They are not remotely comparable, except that they both have their genesis in the Holocaust. This question just sounds like provocation.

A group of people, the Nazi regime and its supporters and facilitators, stripped many people of their homes, possessions, artifacts, and livelihoods. This ranged from home furniture to jewelry to priceless art to simple family storefronts. Seeking return of stolen items or compensation for the loss of destroyed items is a relatively basic concept of law, and it almost certainly stretches back to prehistory. The rule is complicated here by the time that has elapsed and the large number of people involved today who have no moral culpability. But the principle of compensation for wrongs committed is the foundation.

Saving people from unjust imprisonment in the midst of a war being fought for other reasons, then trying to get something from them, is not well supported by law or history. It would have seriously conflicted with Soviet claims that they were forces of liberation for the working classes against foreign bourgeois aggressors. Not to mention the image of Communists grubbing for a little money from starving refugees. It's also entirely unenforceable under any cognizable theory of law, since the Soviets did not obtain the agreement of the rescuees, prior to liberation, that the USSR would be compensated for the rescues.

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  • I disagree. Hospitals bill people for emergency treatment without first getting express permission from the patients. Hospitals don't say "we're only in it for the money", but they send bills to recoup their costs. So too the USSR should be able to recoup the costs of their operations even if those operations are within the purview of fighting foreign bourgeois aggressors. – Clint Eastwood Apr 10 '14 at 18:08
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    That's a different situation because it's governed by domestic law and because there are special statutory and legal considerations. There's also a situation of implied consent - a legal assumption that most people would prefer to pay for am ambulance and that they expect to pay for ambulance. There is no equivalent legal assumption in the body of international customary law for victims to implicitly consent to bounties or ransoms for their liberators. There is also no general implicit expectation that people will have to pay for their rescue. – NL7 Apr 10 '14 at 18:15
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    It's also dangerous for Russia to open this door. Once they start trying to settle up debts and collect back payments from the 1940s, how could they decline to pay compensation to all the people wronged by the USSR? You have the Ukrainian famines, collectivization of agriculture, Katyn Massacre, Afghan invasion, etc. Even more than most countries, the USSR has a lengthy list of victims; on what grounds could their claims be denied? And it would bring objections from other countries, such as the US, Canada, and Israel, who would not want the descendants of Holocaust survivors to pay. – NL7 Apr 10 '14 at 18:21
  • So far the world has not brought any war crimes trials against the USSR for any of those things. In order to get reparations for that, the damaged parties will have to prove their case to a group more powerful than the USSR that will be willing to enforce a judgment. On the other hand, A) Nobody denies the Russians liberated many camps and incurred expenses B) The financial positions of the Jewish groups are more assailable than that of Russia. – Clint Eastwood Apr 11 '14 at 1:44

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