NEW YORK -- Germany has agreed to expand a pool of victims of the Nazis eligible for one-time payments of about $2,660 to those who never left Eastern Europe, the Claims Conference announced.
Until now, only those who fled the Nazis as they moved east through Germany but later settled in the West were eligible for these payments from a fund called the Hardship Fund. The expansion of the pool will cover approximately 7,000 additional people who fled the Nazis but then settled behind the Iron Curtain, the Claims Conference estimated.
In all, the payments are expected to amount to about $19 million. Only those who are now residing in one of the 10 European Union countries that used to be part of the Soviet bloc will be eligible. The announcement came during the annual board meetings of the Claims Conference, which negotiated with Germany for the change.
“This is a first step towards attaining recognition for those Nazi victims whose experiences have not been acknowledged," said Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman. "These are victims of Nazism and communism, who at the end of their lives are finally obtaining symbolic recognition of their persecution."