THE CABINET has agreed to pay Sk850 million ($19 million) in compensation to Slovak Jews for property confiscated and suffering endured under the country's Nazi-collaborator second world war government.
The money is to be deposited in an account at the central bank, with Sk60-65 million to be paid out yearly through 2012 to support direct compensation as well as social, educational and cultural programmes for the Jewish community.
Experts estimate the money represents about 10 per cent of the property damages the Jewish community actually suffered.
"We regard this as moral compensation, but of course no compensation for the lives of the victims," said František Alexander, head of the Association of Jewish Religious Communities (UZZNO).
A seven-member committee including Jewish representatives and government officials will decide how the money is to be used.
"It [Sk850 million] represents as low as we were prepared to go," said UZZNO secretary Jozef Weiss.
Asked why the compensation had taken so long to arrive, Deputy PM for Human Rights Pál Csáky said "I think you had far better address that question to those in power before 1989, and especially to governments during the 1990s."