An amendment to Germany’s Social Security Ghetto Pensions Law was passed in the Bundestag, enabling around 40,000 Jews who labored in Nazi ghettos for wages to receive compensation.
The amendment made on Thursday allows eligible recipients to receive back payments dating to 1997, the year that the law was passed, rather than payments for four years prior to the acceptance of a former laborer’s application, which was the case until now.
According to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which lobbied for the regulations, “overly strict interpretation of the criteria by local German authorities led to the denial of 61,000 out of 70,000 claims.”
“This amendment of the existing legislation brings a long-delayed measure of justice to elderly survivors of ghettos who have been waiting for seven decades for their labor to be recognized by Germany,” Claims Conference executive vice president Greg Schneider said. “These ‘ghetto pensions’ are of great interest to survivors who may be in great need of the funds and for whom they can bring additional comfort and support in their final years.”
Beneficiaries of German pensions under the revised law can either choose a retroactive payment from the passage of the law and subsequent smaller monthly payments, or to forgo that back payment and continue receiving the currently higher monthly rate.