NEW YORK – Germany has agreed to provide restitution payments to an additional 80,000 Jews in what Claims Conference officials are describing as a historic breakthrough.
The agreement, which was reached Monday in negotiations between German officials and Claims Conference representatives, is likely to result in additional payments of approximately $300 million. Most of the money will go to Nazi victims in the former Soviet Union who have never before qualified for pensions or payments from German restitution money.
“This is the last group of people who have never received any compensation,” Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Claims Conference, told JTA in a telephone interview from Washington, where the negotiations took place.
“For people who suffered during the time of the Shoah, recognition from Germany is vital. To be able to do that at this stage, 60 years after the first restitution agreement, for 80,000 people, is tremendous,” he said. “For a survivor now in their old age to finally get acknowledgment from Germany is critically important.”