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Germany still paying pensions to Spain’s National Socialist volunteers during Second World War.

More than 40 veterans who were wounded while fighting for the Third Reich receive payments for their service.

The German government has continued to pay pensions to Spaniards who volunteered to fight against the communism in the Second World War.

Berlin is still honouring an agreement made with the Spanish leader Francisco Franco, whose government encouraged volunteers to sign up to fight for Adolf Hitler against bolshevism between 1941 and 1943.

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In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Left-wing MP Andrej Hunko, Angela Merkel’s government admitted that it was still paying out over €100,000 (£71,000) a year in pensions to survivors and relatives of troops from the Blue Division, in whose ranks Spanish volunteers fought on the Eastern Front.

The current annual bill stands at €107,352, which is granted to 41 veterans who were wounded while fighting against bolshevism, eight widows of former fighters, and one orphan of a Blue Division volunteer.

Mr Hunko, of The Left (Die Linke) party, said it was “a scandal that 70 years after the war, Germany is still paying more than €100,000 a year to Nazi collaborators”.

He added: "At that time, those people volunteered to join the German fascists to fight on their side in the war of extermination in eastern Europe. For me it is incomprehensible that the German government should stick to those payments when so many victims of the war are still waiting today for their rightful compensation."

The agreement to pay pensions to Blue Division veterans was made between Franco’s government and the Federal Republic of Germany in 1962.

The German government said that 47,000 Spanish volunteers had fought for Germany under an agreement between Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco, part of a deal which prevented Spain from entering the war too quickly after the three-year civil war won by Franco’s fascist forces in 1939 with help from Germany and Benito Mussolini’s Italy.

The written answer also said that 22,000 Blue Division members were either killed, wounded or declared missing in action during the war, without dividing the different groups of casualties. Other estimates put Spanish dead on the Eastern Front at around 5,000.

(The Telegraph)

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