Historical story

A Forgotten Scam:The Nazis Made Jews… Pay Pension Contributions!

Last updated:2022-07-25

Modern science rarely brings to light such absurdities. Two Krakow historians remind:Germans not only massacred people of Jewish origin. They also forced Jews to pay insurance.

The economic exploitation of Polish Jews began shortly after the defeat of the September campaign. As early as November 20, 1939, their assets were frozen and restrictions were imposed on the amount of cash they were allowed to have. Hitler's next move was to oblige forced labor on December 12, 1939.

Some Jews, however, still worked voluntarily, which hardly anyone remembers today. They received a normal salary (although lower than Poles, and even less so than Germans) and were ... covered by compulsory social insurance.

Jews during forced labor. At least the Nazis did not charge them for insurance, which was a farce.

ZUS - the last one on the battlefield

As stated by Krakow historians, Łukasz Tomasz Sroka and Konrad Meus, ZUS was an exception compared to the Polish state institutions commonly liquidated by the Germans. In 1941, nearly 101,000 companies were payers of contributions. A large percentage of these firms used the cheap labor force of Jews. After analyzing the materials collected, among others, in the Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and the Archives of the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow, scientists came to the following conclusions:

The case […] is so sensitive that despite the still existing obligation to pay insurance contributions from Jewish workers, they could not count on any benefits from the Social Insurance Institution. This applied to both persons already covered by benefits and those in active employment relationships.

The news is based on a scientific article by Łukasz Tomasz Sroka and Konrad Meus "Social insurance for Jews in Polish lands occupied by Nazi Germany", "Annales Universitatis Paedagogicae Cracoviensis. Studia Historica ”, XIV (2013).

The issue of insurance was another field for discrimination and abuse for the Third Reich. Jews could not count on any pensions or maternity benefits. But the contributions were deducted from their wages just as if all the benefits mentioned were obligatory for them. The leaders of the Jewish community made many attempts to put an end to this bizarre situation. However, the German authorities did not intend to listen to them.

The matter was even less discussed when the Germans undertook the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question." Many Jews paid the Germans a deposit for their future pensions until they died at the hands of their torturers or in the gas chambers. It wasn't an insurance system anymore but a scam.

The source of the above news is:

Tomasz Sroka and Konrad Meus, Social security for Jews in Polish lands occupied by Nazi Germany , "Annales Universitatis Paedagogicae Cracoviensis. Studia Historica ”, XIV (2013).

Historical news. What's the matter?

The "historical news" column is the latest news from the world of history. We are looking for missed and concealed discoveries of Polish (and not only) scientists. We show that there is always something going on in research on the past.
Our news is short and accessible. On 2-3 thousand signs, we will summarize for you the discoveries that scientists have made on dozens of pages of hermetic works. We only write about what really matters. No boring.
We rely on scientific publications from the last 18 months . In the world of history, news spreads slowly, and academic works reach potential recipients with a long delay. What in other fields ceases to be news after 24 hours in history may be even a year later.
When preparing news, we follow the list of the most prestigious historical periodicals. If you are a publisher or author and would like us to reach for a specific publication - please send it to the correspondence address of our editorial office or in an electronic version.