The Luxembourg Agreement

Luxembourg, 10 September 1952: Assuming responsibility

With the Luxembourg Agreement of 10 September 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany assumed responsibility for the consequences of Nazi Germany’s genocide of European Jewry. The over 3 billion Deutsche Mark the Federal Republic paid to the State of Israel and the Claims Conference (Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany) were intended first and foremost to aid the integration of Jewish refugees in Israel. At the time, this amount represented a significant financial burden. In contrast to the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the Federal Republic thereby admitted that Germany was responsible for the genocide – an important step for its return to the international community on an equal footing.

Difficult negotiations were to be expected when the delegations from the Federal Republic and Israel met for the first time in The Hague at the beginning of 1952. Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett (1894 –1965) played a decisive role in bringing about the Luxembourg Agreement. This photo shows the signing of the agreement: Across from Sharett (third from the left) are Adenauer (third from the right) and Walter Hallstein, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office.

Seals and signatures are used to prove that agreements are authentic. Up until the 1950s international agreements were often sealed with the negotiator’s personal seal. For example here, while Moshe Sharett used the seal of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Adenauer chose to use a seal bearing his personal coat of arms.

It displays a diagonal beam with a rose laid across and was used as early as 1623 by the notary Christian Adennewer.

Gradually over the years key documents in the history of German foreign policy (including documents on the creation and implementation of the Luxembourg Agreement) are prepared for publication by the Institute of Contemporary History and made available to the public.

Last updated 16.11.2009

Signing of the Germany Treaty, 16. Mai 1952

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